Baghdad: Ancient remains of northern Iraq's Hatra city have been destroyed by Islamic State militants, the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said on Saturday.
The officials said that the report is yet to be confirmed as the ministry had not received any image which can ascertain the extent of damage at Hatra.
The ministry received reports about the demolition of the site from its employees in the northern city of Mosul, which is at present under the control of the radical Islamist group.
It must be noted that Hatra was declared a world heritage site in 1987.
A resident told Reuters that he heard a powerful explosion early on Saturday and said that other people nearby had reported that Islamic State militants had destroyed some of the larger buildings in Hatra and were bulldozing other parts.
The outfit had also attacked the remains of the Assyrian city of Nimrud, south of Mosul, with bulldozers on Thursday.
The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO condemned the actions as "cultural cleansing" and said they amounted to war crimes.
Last week, they released a video which showed the militants smashing statues and carvings in the city's museum, home to priceless Assyrian and Hellenistic artefacts dating back 3,000 years.
Hatra lies about 110 km (70 miles) south of Mosul, the largest city under Islamic State control.
Hatra's history goes back 2,000 years old Seleucid empire which controlled a large part of the ancient world conquered by Alexander the Great. It is famous for its striking pillared temple at the centre of a sprawling archaeological site.
Archaeologists have drawn parallel between the assault on Iraq's cultural history to the Taliban's destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas in 2001. But the damage wreaked by Islamic State, not just on ancient monuments but also on rival Muslim places of worship, has been swift, relentless and more wide-ranging.
"The delay in international support for Iraq has encouraged terrorists to commit another crime of stealing and demolishing the remains of the city of Hatra," the antiquity ministry said in a statement.
“The militants had used explosives to blow up buildings at Hatra and were also bulldozing it,” said Saeed Mamuzini, spokesman for the Mosul branch of the Kurdish Democratic Party.