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UNESCO: Lebanon's Ancient Ruins Damaged by War


The United Nations' cultural organization, UNESCO, says Lebanon's most important ancient ruins have sustained damage from the recent fighting between Israel and the Shi'ite militia Hezbollah.

In a mission to Lebanon earlier this month, a UNESCO team found that ancient sites in the cities of Byblos, Tyre and Baalbek need to be restored.

The team determined that the ruins in Byblos, along the Mediterranean coast north of Beirut, suffered the most serious damage. The team said an oil spill caused by an Israeli attack on a power plant tainted two medieval towers at the port. UNESCO says the stones need to be cleaned manually, before the onset of winter.

UNESCO also says a fresco in an underground Roman-era tomb in the southern city of Tyre suffered war damage and collapsed when Israel bombed a nearby building. It says cracks in Roman temples in the city of Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley have probably widened even though Israeli bombs did not hit the temples.

The cultural organization said restorations at Byblos will cost some $100,000.

The ruins at Byblos, Tyre and Baalbek are on UNESCO's list of "World Heritage" sites.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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