Egypt blocks attempt to smuggle Jewish artefacts

2014-04-18 20:31
A 2 000 year-old Jewish burial box recovered in Jerusalem when police observed a suspicious transaction. (Jon Gerberg, AP)

A 2 000 year-old Jewish burial box recovered in Jerusalem when police observed a suspicious transaction. (Jon Gerberg, AP)

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Cairo - Authorities in Egypt say they have seized a cache of Jewish religious artefacts that smugglers wanted to ship to Belgium at one of the country's main ports.

Antiquities Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said in a statement on Friday that officials found the artefacts while searching cargo on Thursday at the coastal city of Damietta.

Among the artefacts are a cylindrical wooden box plated in silver, which would have held Torah scrolls. Officials also found a silver knife dating to roughly 1890 with inscriptions, and bells commonly hung in synagogues.

A committee will study and date the cache, which the statement says "embodies a period of religious tolerance in Egypt's history".

Egypt has experienced a security vacuum since its 2011 uprising. Thousands of artefacts have been stolen.
Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa  |  archaeology
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