Iraqi Troops Report Recapture of Nimrud, Site of Assyrian City

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -
Peshmerga forces inspect a tunnel used by Islamic State militants in the town of Bashiqa, after it was recaptured from the Islamic State, east of Mosul, Iraq, November 12, 2016. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari
Peshmerga forces inspect a tunnel used by Islamic State terrorists in the town of Bashiqa, after it was recaptured from the Islamic State, east of Mosul, Iraq, Nov. 12. (Reuters/Azad Lashkari)

Iraqi soldiers have captured Nimrud, the site of an ancient Assyrian city overrun by Islamic State terrorists two years ago, a military statement said on Sunday.

“Troops from the Ninth Armored Division liberated Nimrud town completely and raised the Iraqi flag above its buildings,” the statement said.

The town of Nimrud lies less than 1 mile west of the ruins of the 3,000-year-old city.

The soldiers also captured the village of Numaniya, on the edge of the city which was once the capital of an Assyrian empire stretching from Egypt to parts of modern-day Iran and Turkey.

The Iraqi government says Nimrud was bulldozed last year as part of Islamic State’s campaign to destroy symbols which the Sunni Muslim zealots consider idolatrous.

Video footage released by Islamic State, purportedly from Nimrud, also showed its terrorists destroying relics with electric drills and explosives.

Nimrud lies on the eastern bank of the Tigris river, about 20 miles south of Mosul where Iraqi soldiers and special forces are battling Islamic State for control of the largest city under the jihadists’ control in Iraq and neighboring Syria.