In a historic first, the International Criminal Court has classified destroying cultural artifacts as a war crime.
It follows the trial of jihadist Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, who pleaded guilty Monday to destroying religious monuments in the ancient city of Timbuktu in Mali.
Mahdi, also known as “Abou Tourab,” was charged in March in the attacks between June and July 2012. He is believed to be a member of the al Qaeda-affiliated Ansar Dine in Mali, which oversaw the ransacking of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Using pickaxes and iron bars, Ansar Dine destroyed tombs of historic religious figures as well as institutions housing documents from the Middle Ages in Timbuktu.
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