Egypt recovers 90 stolen antiquities from Israel

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 10 Nov 2013

Collection of looted ancient Egyptian artefacts recovered from auction house in Jerusalem

archive photo of a mummy mask

Israel has returned a collection of stolen antiquities to Egypt after they were found on sale at an auction hall in Jerusalem.

The antiquities ministry said the collection contains 90 ancient Egyptian artefacts, including clay vessels, vases, ushabti figurines and stelae.

Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online on Saturday the auction hall was exhibiting 110 artefacts but only 90 were recovered by the Israeli authorities. The remaining 20 were sold.

The minister said Egypt had asked the Israeli authorities to take legal procedures against the auctioneers and to trace the sold objects. They are willing to do this, he added.

Ali Ahmed, director-general of the Repatriation of Antiquities Department at the ministry, said the objects were first noticed during a routine internet search of international auction halls.

The recovery process began in September when Ibrahim sent an urgent letter to the foreign ministry asking them to act in collaboration with the Egyptian embassy in Jerusalem to stop the sale of 110 artefacts at the Eweda auction hall in Jerusalem.

Israeli authorities discovered the objects were stolen and had been illegally smuggled out of Egypt when the owner of the auction hall was unable to prove his ownership of the objects.

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