Iraq’s Hatra: A World Heritage Site in crossfire of war; AFP

Like many other archaeological sites in Iraq, access to Hatra has been limited by instability and cy­cles of violence that followed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

Baghdad – The ancient city of Hatra withstood Roman inva­sions nearly 2,000 years ago and decades of more recent war and instabili­ty in Iraq but then jihadists marked it for destruction.

The Islamic State (ISIS) vandal­ised Hatra, 110km south-west of Mosul, and is reported to still have a presence in the area, which may put the famed archaeological site in the line of fire as Iraqi forces fight to drive the jihadists back.

Hatra, known as Al-Hadhr in Ar­abic, was established in the second or third century BC and became a religious and trading centre under the Parthian empire.

It was surrounded by two walls — one of earth and another of stone that was dotted with towers.

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