Iraq arrests six in countrywide antiquity smuggling bust

Iraq arrests six in countrywide antiquity smuggling bust
1 min read
21 June, 2022
Among the six arrested was someone with five 'pharaonic statues' in their possession, the Iraqi National Security Service said
Iraq has seen tens of thousands of artefacts looted during decades of war and instability [AFP/Getty-file photo]

Iraq has thwarted alleged attempts to smuggle antiquities and rare manuscripts in three provinces, including Baghdad, with six arrests made, security services announced on Monday.

Iraq has seen tens of thousands of artefacts looted during decades of war and instability, mostly since the US invasion in 2003.

The Iraqi National Security Service (INSS) said in a statement that one person was arrested with five "pharaonic statues" in Al-Rusafa, an administrative district in Baghdad, and another was arrested in Al-Karkh, also in Baghdad, with a "rare gold piece".

Two suspects arrested in the Muthanna province in southern Iraq, were also smuggling antiquities and allegedly had two rare gilded and jewel-encrusted manuscripts of the Torah and Gospels in their possession, according to the statement.

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Two more suspects were arrested in Basra province with an ancient codex written in pure gold.

"All antiquities were confiscated, as were the weapons that were seized with the accused – who were referred, together with the seized items to the relevant judicial authorities to receive their just punishment" the INSS said.