Iraq reopens national museum after 12 years
Iraq has officially reopened its national museum, which had been shut down in the aftermath of the US-led invasion of the country in 2003, in the capital city of Baghdad, Press TV reported.
The reopening ceremony was held on Saturday in the presence of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi after 12 years of efforts that culminated in restoring around a third of 15,000 stolen pieces.
"We have been preparing to reopen for the past couple of months, the museum should be open to everyone," Deputy Tourism and Antiquities Minister Qais Hussein Rashid said.
The reopening came in the wake of the destruction of invaluable artifacts by the Takfiri ISIL terrorists in the northern city of Mosul.
Rashid added that the events in Mosul led the Iraqi authorities to speed up their work as they sought to open the national museum on Saturday "as a response to what the gangs of Daesh (ISIL) did."
The Iraqi premier, meanwhile, condemned the "barbaric, criminal terrorists" for their action, vowing to bring them to justice.
The ISIL terror group released a new video on Thursday showing its militants using sledgehammers and drills to smash ancient statues at a museum in Mosul, which put on display Assyrian artifacts dating back to the 9th century B.C.
The destruction of ancient artifacts in the militant-held city of Mosul is believed to be the worst cultural tragedy since the national museum was ransacked in the chaos that followed the US-led invasion of the country.