French President Francois Hollande
French President Francois HollandeFlash 90

French President Francois Hollande on Friday condemned the "barbaric" destruction by Islamic State terrorists of priceless ancient artifacts in Iraq's city of Mosul.

"Barbarism affects people, history, memories, culture," Hollande told reporters in Manila at the end of a two-day trip to the Philippines, according to AFP

"What the terrorists want to do is destroy all of humanity. When you seek to destroy heritage, you intend to silence all those who carry a message of culture."

Islamic State terrorists released a videoon Thursday showing them destroying the ancient artifacts armed with sledgehammers and jackhammers.

The video showed the terrorists knocking statues off their plinths and rampaging through the Mosul museum's collection, which includes artifacts from the Assyrian and Hellenistic periods dating back to several centuries before the common era.

It also showed jihadists using a jackhammer to deface an imposing granite Assyrian winged bull at the Nergal Gate in Mosul.

"Muslims, these artifacts behind me are idols for people from ancient times who worshipped them instead of God," said a bearded terrorist speaking to the camera.

The destruction sparked widespread consternation and alarm, with some archaeologists and heritage experts comparing it with the 2001 demolition of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan by the Taliban.

The United Nations' cultural agency (UNESCO) immediately demanded an emergency meeting of the Security Council, arguing that heritage protection was an integral part of Iraq's security.