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Syrian official says Islamic militants destroy ancient tower tombs in Syria's Palmyra

This Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 satellite image provided by UNITAR-UNOSAT shows the main building of the ancient Temple of Bel in the Palmyra, Syria. The main building has been destroyed, a United Nations agency said on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. The image was taken four days before a massive explosion was set off near the 2,000-year-old temple in the city occupied by Islamic State militants. (UrtheCast, UNITAR-UNOSAT via AP)

This Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 satellite image provided by UNITAR-UNOSAT shows the main building of the ancient Temple of Bel in the Palmyra, Syria. The main building has been destroyed, a United Nations agency said on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. The image was taken four days before a massive explosion was set off near the 2,000-year-old temple in the city occupied by Islamic State militants. (UrtheCast, UNITAR-UNOSAT via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A Syrian government official in charge of antiquities says that Islamic State militants have destroyed three ancient tower tombs in the central city of Palmyra.

Tower tombs, built on high grounds, are a particular feature of the Roman-era ancient caravan city.

Maamoun Abdulkarim, the head of the Antiquities and Museums Department in Damascus, said Friday the militants destroyed the tower tombs, including the Elahbel tower that dates back to the 103 AD, 10 days earlier. He said the destruction took place before the militants destroyed on Sunday the two-millennia-old temple of Bel in the city, confirmed by U.N. satellite images. The smaller Temple of Baalshamin was also destroyed days before, and the group posted images of the damage.

The militants claim ancient relics and sites of worship promote idolatry.