One of the seized Egyptian artefacts by Italy before being smuggled into the country last May (Photo: Nevine Al-Aref)
A collection of Egyptian artefacts seized by Italian authorities last May are set to be returned to Egypt in the next few days, Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Anany said on Wednesday.
According to statements reported by state-owned MENA news agency, El-Anany said during a cabinet meeting that the artefacts, which were seized as they were being smuggled into Italy, will be delivered to Egyptian authorities in the European country on Wednesday.
In May, Italian authorities seized in Naples 23,700 artefacts, which include 118 ancient Egyptian items.
Egypt has dismissed reports that the cache of artefacts was discovered in a container belonging to an Egyptian diplomat.
According to officials in Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities, the objects were stolen from illegal excavation sites, as there are no records of the artefacts in Egyptian museums.
The artefacts include a collection of pottery from different ancient Egyptian eras, as well as parts of sarcophagi and coins. Also among the artefacts were objects from Islamic Egypt.
Egyptian authorities have said that from March 2016 to May 2018, Egypt recovered more than 975 artefacts that had been smuggled to 10 different countries.