Iraqi National Museum to reopen in response to ISIS destruction of Mosul artifacts

Museum reopens after 12 years, thousands of artifacts still missing.

March 7, 2015 10:37
1 minute read.
A man looks at artifacts displayed inside the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad

A man looks at artifacts displayed inside the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Iraq's National Museum reopened in the Iraqi capital Saturday after 12 years of efforts to restore nearly 15,000 artifacts stolen during the United State's occupation in the country, AFP reported.

According to the report, the museum was reopened earlier than planned in response to the destruction and looting of artifacts by Islamic State in Mosul last month.

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"The events in Mosul led us to speed up our work and we wanted to open it [the museum] today [Saturday] as a response to what the gangs of IS did," Qais Hussein Rashid, the deputy tourism and antiquities minister, told AFP.

"This is a very happy day," which will help heal the wounds of the destruction of artifacts in Mosul, Rashid said in the report.

"For the first time there's a whole generation of Iraqis who never knew what the national museum was. Starting tomorrow...[they] will visit the museum to see the artifacts and touch them," he said. 

AFP reported that the destruction of the Mosul artifacts was a rough hit for Iraq's national art collection, the worst since the looting of its national museum in 2003 following the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

About 15,000 art pieces were stolen during the 2003 Iraqi museum looting.  4,300 have been recovered thus far and 10,000 are still being tracked in markets and auctions.

"Today the message is clear from Baghdad...We will preserve civilization and we will track down those who want to destroy it," Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said.


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