The United States has joined many in the international community in condemning the destruction of ancient Muslim shrines by Islamic militants in the northern Malian city, Timbuktu.
The State Department said Wednesday it is "outraged" that the extremists have destroyed the endangered World Heritage Sites, calling it an assault on the heritage of all Africans.
The militants, which include the al-Qaida-linked Ansar Dine, began destroying the 15th and 16th-century mausoleums late last month. The mausoleums contain the remains of Muslim saints. Militants say the sites are idolatrous.
Tuareg separatists and Islamist groups won control of key cities in northern Mali after a March coup in the south. Since then, the Islamist groups have seized full control of the region.