An Islamic extremist pleaded guilty to orchestrating the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian city of Timbuktu. Ahmad Al-Faqi Al-Mahdi led a group of radicals that destroyed 14 of Timbuktu's 16 mausoleums in 2012 because they considered them totems of idolatry. He asked for forgiveness at the International Criminal Court in the Hague and said he had been swept up in an "evil wave" by al-Qaeda and the Ansar Dine Islamist groups which briefly seized control of the desert city.

Prosecutor Fatima Bensouda compared the attacks to Islamic State's smashing of monuments in the Syrian city of Palmyra and the Taliban's 2001 destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan.

Timbuktu
The Djingareyber mosque in Timbuktu, central Mali, February 2016. In 2012 Islamic extremists of the Ansar Dine began destroying Timbuktu's cultural treasures shortly after UNESCO placed them on a list of endangered World Heritage sitesSebastien Rieussec/ AFP
Timbuktu
Rubble is left from an ancient mausoleum that was destroyed in TimbuktuJoe Penney/ Reuters
Sidi Yahya Mosque
Sidi Yahya Mosque circa 1905-1906. The Sidi Yahya Mosque was broken into and damaged by members of Ansar Dine in 2012 Edmond Fortier

IBTimesUK takes a look at some Unesco's World Heritage Sites, along with ancient landmarks, which have been damaged due to terrorism and war:

Umayyad mosque of Aleppo, Syria:

A Unesco World Heritage site, the Umayyad Mosque is one of the oldest and largest mosques in Aleppo and was built at beginning of the 8th century, although the current building dates from the11th through 14th centuries. The mosque was damaged during clashes between Syrian Army and Free Syrian Army during the Syrian Civil War in April 2013.

Umayyad mosque
A Syrian rebel fighter points to destruction in the Umayyad Mosque complex in the old part of Syria's northern city of Aleppo,  April 2013Dimitar Dilkoff/ AFP
Umayyad mosque
General view of destruction in Aleppo's ancient Umayyad mosque, in the UNESCO-listed northern Syrian city, April 2013AFP/ Getty Images
Umayyad mosque
A section of the Umayyad Mosque complex is seen riddled with bullet holes in the old part of Syria's northern city of AleppoDimitar Dilkoff/ AFP
Umayyad mosque
The rubble of the minaret of Aleppo's ancient Umayyad mosque, in the UNESCO-listed northern Syrian city, after it was blown upJalal al-Halabi/ AFP

The Mosque of the Prophet Yunus, Nineveh, Iraq:

Located close to the built-up walls of Nineveh the Mosque of the Prophet Yunus was one of the most important mosques in Mosul. It was blown up by Islamic State in July 2014.

ISIS destruction
The Mosque of the Prophet Yunus, 1999Reuters
ISIS destruction
People walk through the rubble of the Prophet Yunus Mosque after it was destroyed in a bomb attack by militants of the Islamic State in the city of Mosul on 24 July, 2014Reuters
ISIS destruction
People walk through the rubble of the Prophet Yunus Mosque after it was destroyed in a bomb attack by militants of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in the city of Mosul on 24 July, 2014Reuters

Adad and Mashqi Gates, Nineveh, Iraq:

Located near the Iraqi city of Mosul, Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River and was guarded by the Adad and Mashqi Gates, both of which were destroyed by Islamic State in early 2015. In February, they went on to the Mosul museum and vandalised ancient artefacts and statues.

ISIS destruction
The Mashqi Gate, guarding the ancient city of Ninevah Lachicaphoto
ISIS destruction
The destruction of the reconstructed Adad and Mashki Gates
ISIS destruction
The destruction Adad and Mashki Gates
Isis destroys Mosul artifacts
Screen grab taken from a video showing IS militants destroy ancient Assyrian artifacts in the Mosul museumAl-Jazeera

Palmyra, Syria:

Described by Unesco as "one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world" parts of the ancient city of Palmyra were gradually destroyed by the Islamic State, despite reports suggesting that they had no intention of demolishing the World Heritage Site. In June 2015, the Lion of Al-Lāt statue was knocked down, along with several others. What followed was more destruction, including The Temple of Bel and the Temple of Baalshamin, which dated back to the first century.

Palmyra Isis Syria
The Roman Theatre at Palmyra dates back to the second centuryiStock
Syria 2015 photos
An image distributed by IS militants on social media purports to show the destruction of the Roman-era Baalshamin temple in the ancient Syrian city of PalmyraReuters
Palmyra
Columns in the courtyard of the temple of Bel at the ancient city of Palmyra which were damaged by artillary shellingJoseph Eid/ AFP
palmyra before
Unitar Unisat
Palmyra after
Unitar Unisat

Buddhas of Bamiyan

The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two monumental statues of Buddha, carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamiyan valley in central Afghanistan. They were destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, after President Mullah Mohammed Omar declared that they were idols and should be removed.

Buddhas of Bamiyan
The taller of the two Buddhas in 1963 and in 2008 after destructionWikiCommons
Buddhas of Bamiyan
A combination photo showing the defaced Buddha statue prior to their destruction in the Bamiyan town in central Afghanistan in December, 1997Reuters
Buddhas of Bamiyan
Boys play soccer in front of the whole where the Buddhas of Bamiyan used to stand in the central town of Bamiyan northwest of Kabul April, 2007Reuters

Hatra, Iraq:

The ancient Iraqi city of Hatra, built in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, was destroyed by Islamic State militants in March 2015. Later, video footage emerged of members of the militant group demolishing its ruins.

ISIS destruction
Iraqi children run in front of a temple in the historic city of Hatra, 350 kilometres north of Baghdad, Iraq in December, 2002Suhaib Salem/ Reuters
ISIS destruction
A purported Islamic State video shows militants destroying artefacts in Iraq's Unesco World Heritage city of HatraYouTube
ISIS destruction
A purported Islamic State video shows militants destroying artefacts in Iraq's Unesco World Heritage city of HatraYouTube

Krak des Chavaliers, Syria:

Krak des Chavaliers was considered to be one of the most well-preserved castles in the world. Inhabited by Kurdish troops in the 11th century, it was known as Hisn al-Akrad "Castle of the Kurds". The castle was shelled during the Syrian Civil War in 2012, and was further damaged by airstrikes in 2013.

Krak des Chevaliers
Krak des ChevaliersNev1
Krak des Chevaliers
Smoke rises from Smoke Krak des Chevaliers, August 2013Syria963
Krak des Chevaliers
Damage in the renowned Crusader castle Krak des Chevaliers near the Syria-Lebanon borderAFP/ Getty Images
Krak des Chevaliers
Items left behind in the renowned Crusader castle Krak des Chevaliers near the Syria-Lebanon border after forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad seized the fortress marking a significant advance in their drive to seal the Lebanese border and sever rebel supply linesSam Skaine/ AFP