Mali Islamists Tear Down UN Protected Shrines

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Militant Islamists in Mali say they will continue destroying historic religious sites despite objections by the United Nations.

Ansar Dine, a radical al Qaeda-linked group, has taken control of the northern half of the country. The terrorists started destroying the centuries-old tombs of Sufi Muslim saints in Timbuktu Saturday.

The U.N. designated the tombs as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has called for the destruction to stop immediately.

"This morning, the Islamists continued breaking the mausoleums," said Aboubacrine Cisse, a resident in the area who witnessed the attacks. "They are continuing to destroy all the tombs of all the saints of Timbuktu, and our city counts 333 saints."

A spokesman for Ansar Dine called the destruction a "divine order" and vowed to destroy all of the shrines.

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