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Islamists lay waste to 2 more tombs in Timbuktu, destroying Mali's UNESCO-listed patrimony
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) ¯¯¯ A historian specializing in the heritage of the northern Malian city of Timbuktu says that Islamic extremists have destroyed another two mausoleums inside a 700-year-old mosque, continuing the destruction of the city's UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Salem Ould Elhadj, a researcher at the Ahmed Baba Institute in Timbuktu, said the fighters set out to attack the tombs of two of Timbuktu's scholars, Baba Babadje and Mahamane Foulane, considered saints. Their mausoleums are in a cemetery attached to the city's picturesque Djingareyber mosque, made of mud and resembling a ziggurat.
Ansar Dine, the radical Islamic sect, said they have "divine orders" to destroy any grave that is more than 20 centimeters tall. Spokesman Oumar Ould Hamaha says residents of Timbuktu were praying at the tombs, confusing the saints with Allah.