US returns Iraq treasures as IS threatens heritage

Ancient Iraqi clay reliefs are seen during a ceremony to repatriate more than 60 Iraqi cultural items which had been smuggled into the US, at the Iraqi consulate in Washington, DC, on March 16, 2015As Iraq struggles to protect its ancient sites and heritage from the Islamic State group, the United States returned some 60 historical items to the country on Monday, many dating to thousands of years ago. Ancient glass vessels, clay images and bronze spears and axes were on display in Iraq’s consulate in the United States as part of the hand over. The head of an Assyrian lamassu, or winged bull, taken from the palace of Sargon II in northern Iraq, was among the items that are headed back to Iraq’s recently reopened national museum in Baghdad. Sargon’s palace is in the province of Nineveh where the Islamic State group (IS) was seen in videos destroying and defacing ancient sites and items, including a winged bull like the one returned Monday.

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