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The Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, pictured here in August 2010, closed in 2003 after looters pillaged the building. Ph...

Iraq reopens museum in defiance of jihadist threat

The Iraqi National Museum, ransacked after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, has reopened 12 years later displaying ancient winged creatures, tablets and sculptures in stone.

The reopening over the weekend came days after Islamic State militants filmed themselves smashing centuries-old artifacts and some replicas at the Mosul museum in northern Iraq.

“Those barbaric, criminal terrorists are trying to destroy the heritage of mankind and Iraq’s civilization,” said Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad.

“We will chase them in order to make them pay for every drop of blood shed in Iraq and for the destruction of Iraq’s civilization.”

A man looks at ancient Assyrian human-headed winged bull statues at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad on Feb. 28, 2015. Photo by Khalid al-Mousily/Reuters

A man looks at ancient Assyrian human-headed winged bull statues at the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad on Feb. 28, 2015. Photo by Khalid al-Mousily/Reuters

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (right) visits the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad on Feb. 28, 2015. Photo by Khalid al-Mousily/Reuters

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (right) visits the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad on Feb. 28, 2015. Photo by Khalid al-Mousily/Reuters

A man looks at artifacts displayed inside the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad on Feb. 28, 2015. Photo by Khalid al-Mousily/Reuters

A man looks at artifacts displayed inside the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad on Feb. 28, 2015. Photo by Khalid al-Mousily/Reuters