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Why Islamic State wants to destroy the past

Authoritarian regimes have always sought to reshape history to their own advantage

By Ian Irvine  

The Roman theatre in Sabratha, Libya. ©duimdog

Read more: Islamic State: how to save Syria’s antiquities 

Read more: Grieving for buildings 

Reports in December suggested that Islamic State (IS) forces have taken control of the town of Sabratha in Libya. It lies on the Mediterranean coast, 50 miles west of Tripoli and was one of the three ancient cities which give the area its historic name, Tripolitania. Its extensive archaeological remains are a Unesco world heritage site and the incursion of IS has raised fears…

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