SOURCE: Washington Post (6-15-11)
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.
Susan Kane, a professor of archaeology at Oberlin College in Ohio who has done extensive work in Libya, said Libyan contacts she deems credible have told her the government is storing munitions in cultural sites, such as museums and ruins. She said that fighting around Leptis Magna would be a tragedy.
Irina Bokova, head of the U.N. cultural organization, issued a statement Wednesday calling for all parties in the conflict to protect heritage sites....