Following diplomatic and archaeological procedures, Egypt succeeded in returning the lids of two sarcophagi that had been stolen and illegally smuggled out of the country.
Shaaban Abdel Gawad, the general supervisor of the Antiquities Recuperation Department, told Ahram Online that both lids were stolen through illegal excavations and then smuggled out of the country to Jerusalem via Dubai through an Israeli antiquities trader.
Abdel Gawad explained that the Israeli Antiquities Authority and the Jerusalem Interpol noticed both lids in the showroom of an auction Hall in Jerusalem in 2012 and the Jerusalem Interpol reported the incident to the Egyptian Interpol who in turn passed the information on to the antiquities ministry.
After diplomatic procedures, both lids arrived safely to Cairo airport on Thursday afternoon and are to be transported to the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir for restoration and permanent display.
Both lids date back to the ancient Egyptian era and are carved in wood and painted with coloured cartonage and decorated with hieroglyphic symbols.
"This is the second time that Egypt has recovered artefacts from Israel," Abdel Gawad asserted, adding that the first time was during the 1990s, when Egypt received a large collection of objects that had been excavated in Sinai by an Israel archaeological mission during the country’s occupation of the peninsula.
The lower part of the sarcophagus' lid