- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Islamic State militants executed three prisoners in the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria by strapping them to pillars and then blowing them up along with the ancient ruins, according to a new report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

“This execution is the first of its kind by the Islamic State, the organization (that) in recent months has invented new ways of execution,” the observatory said in a statement late Monday.

Local sources told the London-based group that the killings took place Monday afternoon at the Palmyra archaeological site, just a few miles away from the city. The identities of the three prisoners remains unknown. 

News of the executions comes after the terror group posted footage on social media appearing to show the militants executing a teenage Syrian soldier by running him over with a tank. Before being executed, the soldier is shown “confessing” to having used a tank himself to run over the bodies of Islamic State soldiers, according to the observatory. 

The reports indicate the militant group has expanded on its gruesome killing tactics. The Islamic State has consistently used social media to publicize its executions. Last year the group released a series of videos showing the beheadings of western aide workers. 

Other videos have shown prisoners being executed by a young boy, and a captured Jordanian pilot being burned alive inside a cage. 

The militants have also ransacked Palmyra’s priceless antiquities for sale on the black market. The group destroyed other statues and archeological sites claiming they promoted idolatry. 

Earlier this month, the militants reportedly blew up Palmyra’s iconic Arch of Triumph, resulting in Maamun Abdulkarim, Syria’s head of antiquities, pleading with the international community to “find a way to save Palmyra.”

In August, the terrorists reportedly killed an 82-year-old antiquities expert and hung his body from a column in the Roman-era city. 

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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