Daesh threatens to blow up Egypt’s Pyramids

Published June 9th, 2016 - 10:48 GMT
The Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza, near Cairo, were constructed in around 2580 BC (AFP)
The Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza, near Cairo, were constructed in around 2580 BC (AFP)

Daesh (ISIS) has pledged to destroy the the Pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt, and claims to have the capacity to carry out such an audacious attack.

In a video purportedly released by Daesh, a narrator also claims to have destroyed the ancient Nabu temple south of Mosul in Iraq – although footage of the monument supposedly exploding could not be verified.

In the video, the camera pans across examples of culture and art from pre-Islamic societies, and a narrator tells Muslim viewers to avoid such heritage as the work of infidels and Satan. The extreme interpretation of Islam advocated by Daesh regards secular art, or that which belongs to other religions, as blasphemous, and holds that a civilisation should be judged only by its obedience to religious rules.

Cultural destruction is big business for Daesh. The group’s notoriety was boosted in the past after it destroyed ancient monuments in the Syrian city of Palmyra, as well as executing those who’d devoted their lives to researching and restoring the heritage.

But should Egypt be worried about the threats? Yesterday, national media rubbished the claims, arguing that the stringent security around the pyramids – including metal detectors and ID checks – would stop attackers intent on destroying the ancient monuments.

But Daesh has been working to deepen their presence in the country; in the North Sinai, an ongoing insurgency and consequent crackdown has been raging for years now. Violence has affected other cities, too. In January, a bomb killed six police officers in Giza, the biggest of several attacks that predominantly targeted security forces in the city.

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