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Islamic State Militants Destroy Temple In Palmyra

A video grab allegedly shows a flag of the Islamic State (IS) group at a Roman theater in the ancient city of Palmyra.

Activists report that Islamic State (IS) militants have blown up the ancient temple of Baal Shamin in the UNESCO-listed Syrian city of Palmyra.

Syria's antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim said on August 23 the militants "placed a large quantity of explosives in the temple of Baal Shamin today and then blew it up causing much damage to the temple."

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the temple's destruction late August 23 but said Baal Shamin was blown up a month ago.

Turkey-based activist Osama al-Khatib also said the temple was blown up earlier than August 23.

The observatory and al-Khatib said some of Palmyra's famous columns were damaged by the explosion.

News of the destruction of the Baal Shamin temple comes just days after the IS extremists beheaded Khaled al-Assad, the 82-year-old antiquities chief in Palmyra.

IS militants captured the ancient city in May.

IS militants have previously destroyed ancient artifacts and buildings in areas under their control in neighboring Iraq.

Baal Shamin was built about 17 AD and later expanded during the reign of Hadrian in about 130 AD.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP