Islamic State militants on Sunday blew up the ancient temple of Baal Shamin in the UNESCO-listed Syrian city of Palmyra, an official said, the latest in a series of cultural relics to be destroyed by the jihadist group. Famed for well-preserved Greco-Roman ruins, Palmyra was seized from government forces in May, fuelling fears the IS jihadists might destroy its priceless heritage as it had done in other parts of Syria and Iraq. Until Sunday, most of Palmyra’s most famous sites had been left intact, though there were reports IS had mined them and the group reportedly destroyed a famous statue of a lion outside the city’s museum. ‘Daesh placed a large quantity of explosives in the temple of Baal Shamin today and then blew it up causing much damage to the temple,’ Syria’s antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim told AFP, using another name for IS. ‘The cella (inner area of the temple) was destroyed and the columns around collapsed,’ he said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain

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