The destruction of four more Sufi shrines in northern Mali spurred outrage Tuesday (December 25th) from the United Nations.
"I am profoundly shocked by the ferocity that has marked the latest round of destruction of Timbuktu's mausoleums," UNESCO chief Irina Bokova said about the Sunday events.
Timbuktu tourism director Sane Chirfi told AP that that Ansar al-Din rebels linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb had demolished the shrines.
According to many residents of the "City of 333 Saints", the move was the rebels' reaction to the UN resolution calling for an international military intervention to oust the Islamists from northern Mali.
The United Nations on Thursday decided to back the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) proposal to send 3,300 troops to the region.
The Security Council gave an initial one year authorisation to the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) to use "all necessary measures" to help Malian authorities retake land held by "terrorist, extremist and armed groups".