Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fear for Libya’s Roman ruins

Standing at the peak of the towering coliseum, the centerpiece of this Mediterranean city’s majestic Roman ruins, guide Khalif Hwuita looked skyward as he heard the faint buzz of jets.

“They’re above our heads now,” he said, referring to the NATO aircraft deployed to weaken Moammar Gaddafi’s military capabilities.

Leptis Magna, Libya’s most important archaeological site, has not been engulfed in fighting as the country’s conflict enters its fifth month. But airstrikes have been carried out nearby, and Libyans on both sides of the battle worry that the U.N. World Heritage Site could sustain damage if rebels in the east push toward Tripoli.

Alarm about the archaeological site soared this week after NATO officials said they could not rule out bombing in the area if Gaddafi’s troops are found to be using it as a military staging ground.

More at Washington Post