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Iraqi forces retake archaeological museum in Mosul that was vandalized by the Islamic State

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Iraqi security forces have recaptured the Mosul museum, where Islamic State fighters infamously filmed themselves smashing priceless artefacts in 2015 (AFP Photo/-)

Iraqi security forces recaptured the Mosul museum, where Islamic State group militants infamously filmed themselves smashing priceless artefacts, police said on Tuesday.

Iraqi forces “recaptured the archaeological museum,” Lieutenant General Raed Shakir Jawdat said in a statement, without specifying when this occurred.

The museum was on a police list of sites recaptured from IS during an ongoing offensive to reclaim Mosul, along with the central bank building, which was looted by the jihadists.

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Lieutenant Colonel Abdulamir al-Mohammedawi of the Rapid Response Division, the special forces unit that usually spearheads operations with the federal police, also confirmed the museum’s recapture, saying it was retaken on Monday.

IS “stole the artefacts and completely destroyed the museum,” Mohammedawi said.

The jihadist group released a video in February 2015 of militants destroying ancient artefacts at the museum, after overrunning the city of Mosul the previous June.

The five-minute video shows militants at the museum in Mosul knocking statues off their plinths and smashing them to pieces.

In another scene, a jackhammer is used to deface a large Assyrian winged bull at an archeological site in the city.

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IS also smashed stone carvings and detonated explosives at the site of Nimrud near Mosul, and vandalised sculptures at Hatra, another ancient city located in north Iraq.

The destruction at the museum and the archaeological sites has drawn widespread condemnation internationally and inside Iraq.

While IS has cast its destruction of Iraqi heritage as a religiously mandated removal of idols, the jihadists have had no qualms about selling smaller artefacts to fund their operations.

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IS overran large areas north and west of Baghdad in 2014, but Iraqi forces backed by US-led air strikes have since recaptured most of the territory they lost.

Iraqi forces launched the operation to retake Mosul on October 17, first recapturing its eastern side and then setting their sights on the west in a push launched last month.

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Lara Trump’s lie about Biden family business deals demolished by conservative: ‘You could look it up’

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On Fox News Thursday, ahead of the final presidential debate, President Donald Trump's daughter-in-law Lara Trump repeatedly claimed that Joe Biden was allowing his family to use his name "while he was vice president" to secure profitable business deals.

Lara Trump just murdered irony pic.twitter.com/aBSQjLUp32

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 22, 2020

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Trump supporters linked to Steve Bannon pushing ‘fantastical rumors’ to try to ‘pizzagate’ Joe Biden: report

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NBC News on Thursday published a blockbuster report on efforts to smear former Vice President Joe Biden.

"Some of the same people who pushed a false conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton that first emerged in 2016 are now targeting Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son, with similar falsehoods. Their online posts are garnering astronomical numbers of shares on social media," NBC News correspondents Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny reported Thursday.

"The fantastical rumors, which NBC News is declining to repeat verbatim, echo specific plot points central to 'pizzagate,' a viral disinformation campaign that predates QAnon but also falsely alleges a vast conspiracy of child abuse," NBC News explained. "There is an important difference, however. The pizzagate-style rumors in 2016 were largely confined to far-right message boards like 4chan and parts of Reddit. But the Hunter Biden iteration of the same conspiracy theory took off last weekend with the help of speculation from conservative TV hosts and members of Congress. Their theorizing can be traced back to a new website that has been promoted by President Donald Trump and his surrogates."

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2020 Election

Pennsylvania AG warns Trump campaign poll watchers to stop videotaping voters

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On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that the attorney general of Pennsylvania is warning Trump campaign surrogates to stop videotaping voters dropping off mail-in ballots.

"In a statement, Josh Shapiro, the Democratic state attorney general, said, 'Pennsylvania law permits poll watchers to carry out very discrete and specific duties — videotaping voters at drop boxes is not one of them,'" reported Blake Montgomery.

"The campaign has filed complaints with Philadelphia officials based on the videos, alleging fraud on the part of several voters who submitted two or three ballots, according to The New York Times," continued the report. "The Trump campaign initially said the purpose of the videotaping was to catch voters who dropped off a large number of fraudulent ballots rather than one or two, according to the Times."

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