ISIS is determined not just to carry out ethnic cleansings in Iraq and Syria, but to wipe entire cultures, history and all, off the map. For months, the extremist group has been systematically destroying cultural heritage sites in Syria and Iraq, erasing priceless remains of ancient history. Now, ISIS fighters are threatening a piece of modern history, too: They’ve taken a piece of Star Wars.
Tataouine, Tunisia, the city that served as inspiration for the planet of Tatooine in Star Wars, has become a waypoint for ISIS. That ISIS fighters travel through the region on their way to and from training bases in Libya has made the area a less enticing prospect for tourists, once a significant source of economic income. Only a few weeks ago, ISIS gunmen killed 23 people at the Bardo National Museum in the Tunisian capital of Tunis–many of them foreign tourists. Tataouine and its neighbor, Matmata (whose Berber architecture inspired the Star Wars sets) are home to centuries-old dwellings on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Several arms caches, possibly (though not certainly) related to ISIS, have been uncovered in the region.