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Iraqi forces say they've seized Hatra antiquities site

  • FILE - In this July 27, 2005 file photo, a temple to the Shamash sun god still stands over 1,750 years after the Sassanian empire razed the Mesopotamian city of Hatra, 320 kilometers (200 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi paramilitary forces said Wednesday, April 26, 2017, that they have captured Hatra, a 2,000-year-old historical site near the northern city of Mosul, where U.S.-backed forces have been battling the Islamic State group for months. (AP Photo/Antonio Castaneda, File)

    FILE - In this July 27, 2005 file photo, a temple to the Shamash sun god still stands over 1,750 years after the Sassanian empire razed the Mesopotamian city of Hatra, 320 kilometers (200 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi paramilitary forces said Wednesday, April 26, 2017, that they have captured Hatra, a 2,000-year-old historical site near the northern city of Mosul, where U.S.-backed forces have been battling the Islamic State group for months. (AP Photo/Antonio Castaneda, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this July 27, 2005 file photo, a sculpture of a female face stares down at visitors, in the Hatra ruins, 320 kilometers (200 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi paramilitary forces said Wednesday, April 26, 2017, that they have captured Hatra, a 2,000-year-old historical site near the northern city of Mosul, where U.S.-backed forces have been battling the Islamic State group for months. (AP Photo/Antonio Castaneda, File)

    FILE - In this July 27, 2005 file photo, a sculpture of a female face stares down at visitors, in the Hatra ruins, 320 kilometers (200 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Iraqi paramilitary forces said Wednesday, April 26, 2017, that they have captured Hatra, a 2,000-year-old historical site near the northern city of Mosul, where U.S.-backed forces have been battling the Islamic State group for months. (AP Photo/Antonio Castaneda, File)  (The Associated Press)

Iraqi paramilitary forces say they have captured Hatra, a 2,000-year-old historical site near the northern city of Mosul, where U.S.-backed forces have been battling the Islamic State group for months.

Karim al-Nouri, a spokesman for the state-sanctioned militias, says they captured the UNESCO world heritage site and are around three kilometers (two miles) from a nearby town with the same name, without providing further details.

Iraqi forces often claim to have driven IS from areas that are still far from secure, or that quickly fall back into the militants' hands.

Hatra is believed to have been built in the second or third century B.C. by the Seleucid Empire. IS militants destroyed the site along with other major historical sites in and around Mosul. The extremist group believes antiquities promote idolatry.