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Palmyra's Temple of Bel destroyed, says UN

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A satellite image confirms that the main temple in the ancient city of Palmyra in northern Syria has been destroyed, the United Nations says.

There had been earlier reports of an explosion at the Temple of Bel in Palmyra, which is held by militants from the Islamic State (IS) group.

Syria's antiquities chief had earlier said the basic structure of the 2,000-year-old site was intact.

But UN satellite analysts Unosat say the image shows almost nothing remains.

"Unfortunately, the images we acquired do show that the main building of the temple has been destroyed," Einar Bjorgo, Unosat's manager, told the BBC early on Tuesday.

He added that a set of columns nearby had also been flattened.

A local man, Khaled al-Homsi, told the BBC that only the outer boundary wall and the gateway to the temple remained.

"I'm concerned just like any other Syrian who lives in this country," Mr Homsi said.

"Whenever we hear of these explosions or destructions of important monuments... it's like losing a part of yourself, a part of history, a part of world knowledge."


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