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Egypt's antiquities minister receives threats on Al-Bahnasa archaeological site

Additional security forces head to Minya after antiquities minister receives letter threatening to loot and burn Al-Bahnasa archaeological galleries

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 18 Aug 2013
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On Sunday, the military and police sent additional security forces to archaeological sites and galleries in the Upper Egypt city of Minya to help guards of the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) protect the city’s heritage.

The additional security personnel travelled to Minya at the request of Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim, who received a letter from an unknown person threatening to set fire to Al-Bahnasa archaeological galleries and to loot its treasured artefacts.

The galleries house a large collection of ancient Egyptian objects that were discovered in Al-Bahnasa archaeological sites and Amarna.

Al-Bahnasa is located on the western bank of the Minya Nile. In ancient Egypt, its name was Pr-Medjed, derived from the name of a fish that was thought to have swallowed the severed penis of the god Osiris. 

During Greek times, it was known as Oxyrhynchus. It is considered one of Minya's largest archeological sites where more than 100,000 papyri fragments were found, now at the Sackler Library in Oxford.

Ibrahim said that security measures were being tightened in every archaeological site, museums and gallery all over the country, in order to protect them from encroachment or attempts at looting during the current period of political turmoil.

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