ISIS vows to destroy pyramids in Egypt

by Gregory Tomlin, |
A man rides his motorbike in front of Giza pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo. ISIS has vowed to destroy the cultural heritage site because it was built by "infidels." | REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

MOSUL, Iraq (Christian Examiner) – Islamic State militants have posted another video of the terror group knocking over cultural treasures in Iraq, this time the 2,500-year-old temple of Nabu in the ancient city of Nimrud.

In the video, ISIS militants are shown leveling the temple to one of the Assyrian's highest gods with an enormous blast. Plumes of dust rise high into the air as the shockwave from the explosion reaches the camera.

But at the end of the video, images of Egypt's iconic structures – also key tourist attractions – are shown. A black-clad jihadist then promises that the terror group will eventually wipe out the structures, including the Great Pyramid and other sites created by "infidels." That presumably also includes the Sphinx.

In April, ISIS destroyed the Mashki and Adad gates at the site of the ancient city of Nineveh, but no documentary evidence of the destruction was made public until recently. That video shows bulldozers pushing over the city's mudbrick walls intricately carved with animals, palm trees and cuneiform writing.

ISIS made headlines worldwide late last year for destroying many of the ancient ruins at Palymyra in Syria. Pictures of the destruction revealed that the city's temple to Bel (the chief god) was destroyed. The militants spared the Roman amphitheater where they videotaped executions – some of them carried out by children.

The potential for an ISIS attack in Giza is real. Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, has reported that hundreds of Egyptian soldiers have been killed in clashes with Islamic State militants in the troubled Sinai. 

"Hundreds of Egyptian soldiers are believed to have been killed through the summer of 2015, although it is hard to gauge the precise figures as the militants make wildly exaggerated claims and Cairo plays down its casualty numbers," the paper said.

The latest video threat against sites deeper in Egypt may be designed more to cripple Egyptian tourism than anything else. In October, ISIS claimed responsibility for the downing of an Egyptian airliner over the Sinai. Since that incident, tourism has crashed.

Hotels in the Sinai's Red Sea resort towns, normally filled with Russian terrorists, are virtually empty. Egypt has lost an estimated $250 million in revenue. The number of British tourists dropped by 85 percent in the first two months after the airline crash.