Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, right, visits the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad Feb. 28, 2015.
February 28, 2015 10:20 AM EST

Iraq’s national museum has reopened, some twelve years after being looted during the U.S. military operations in Baghdad.

The museum, which places back on display priceless artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia, was intentionally re-opened ahead of schedule, the BBC reports, as a response to the recent destruction by the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria of sculptures at a museum in Mosul, Iraq.

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

One-third of the 15,000 items stolen from the National Museum of Iraq during the Iraq War have reportedly been recovered.


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