"The Secretary-General is outraged by the continuing destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq by ISIL [IS], amid reports of the razing of the ancient city of Hatra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the north of the country," the United Nations said in a statement published on its official website on Sunday.
Ban Ki-moon stressed that the destruction of cultural heritage constitutes a war crime and urged the international community to "swiftly put a stop to such heinous terrorist activity" and to counter the illicit traffic in cultural artifacts, which is called for in two UN Security Council resolutions.
Hatra lies 68 miles southwest of ISIL-controlled Mosul, and, according to UNESCO World Heritage Centre, provides "exceptional testimony to an entire facet of Assyro-Babylonian civilization". Last Thursday, ISIL militants posted a video featuring them destroying a collection of antique statues and sculptures in Iraq's second largest museum in Mosul.
News of Hatra's destruction by ISIL extremists comes after a similar incident, which took place last week, when the Sunni radicals attacked the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in northern Iraq and bulldozed it with trucks.
The city of Nimrud is over 3,300 years old. It used to be the capital of the Assyrian empire and is valued for its frescos and antique relics.