Egypt's Ministry of State of Antiquities (MSA) has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send an emergency letter to London's foreign ministry to temporarily halt the sale of Egyptian artefacts listed on eBay until said objects are inspected.
MSA minister Mohamed Ibrahim said that the inspection would assess the objects' authenticity as well as their accompanying documents in order to ascertain how they were taken out of Egypt.
Authentic objects that have been illegally smuggled from the country must return to Egypt as they represent Egypt's heritage, Ibrahim asserted.
Head of the MSA's repatriation department Ahmed Ali told Ahram Online that the listed objects on eBay were found by chance, as the MSA inspects worldwide auction hall websites to determine if Egyptian artefacts have been illegally smuggled and to demand their restitution.
Ali noted that eBay lists over 800 ancient Egyptian and Islamic objects for auction, including scarabs, lanterns, amulets and ushabti figurines.
Early this week, Egypt succeeded in halting the sale of a collection of Egyptian artefacts in two Jerusalem auction halls.