Egypt seizes 10 stolen artifacts, to reclaim 11 from US, Germany
Former minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Egypt’s authorities seized on Monday 10 artifacts that were stolen from the Egyptian Museum during the January 25 Revolution, said Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim, who announced Tuesday that Cairo will reclaim 11 other artifacts from the U.S. and Germany.

The stolen artifacts include a Tutankhamun statue made of wood and trimmed with gold and bronze and a bronze statue of the deity Apis dating back to the Greco-Roman era, the minister added in a press conference held on Tuesday at the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones.

Authorities also seized eight Shawabti statues, which are placed in an ancient tomb for the purpose of serving the soul of the buried. Each tomb typically has up to 360 Shawabti statues.

Authorities also confiscated a wooden Shawabti statue of Queen Tuya, an alabaster Shawabti, a wooden Shawabti for Queen Tuya, an ebony Shawabti statue, two other statues with the name of Tuya, a Shawatbi made of cedar wood, and a yellow limestone Shawabti, Ibrahim said in the statement.

Fifty-four artifacts were stolen on January 28, 2011, but the tourism police reclaimed 23 pieces in addition to the 10 artifacts that were seized on Monday. The remaining stolen artifacts are 29 pieces, Ibrahim noted.

The minister added that Egyptian authorities had been informed that some of stolen artifacts had been found in Belgium, noting that such artifacts had not been reported stolen. Egypt’s ministries of foreign affairs, tourism and antiquities reclaimed the artifacts, he said.

An exhibition scheduled for October will be held to display all the reclaimed artifacts that have been stolen over three past years, he added.

The minister added at the conference that Egypt will reclaim three artifacts from Germany and eight others from the U.S. in the next few days. Ibrahim announced in a press statement on Monday that the three artifacts from Germany had been smuggled there in 2009.

Delivery of the artifacts will be viewed by Mamdouh Eldamaty, the cultural counselor at the Egyptian embassy in Berlin, and director of the Egyptian Museum in Berlin Friederike Seyfried, the statement read.

German customs authorities seized the artifacts in 2013 as they were being smuggled to Belgium, the statement added. German authorities held the artifacts in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin until Egypt obtained a court verdict to reclaim the artifacts.

A press conference at the Cairo International Airport will be held to show the three reclaimed artifacts on Saturday, the Ministry of Antiquities said on its official Facebook page Tuesday.

A smuggling attempt of Jewish antiquities to Belgium was recently foiled by Egyptian security, on April 18. The seized artifacts include 11 wooden cylinder Torah cases inlaid with engraved silver and lined with velour, a silver knife dating to 1890, a silver crown and a menorah.

Ibrahim also noted during Tuesday’s conference that police will exert any effort to reclaim artifacts stolen from the Malawi Museum.

A large number of archeological pieces were stolen from the museum in the aftermath of the dispersal of the sit-ins of the Muslim Brotherhood in Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Square on August 14.

On November 12, 2013, Ibrahim announced that the Egyptian authorities had reclaimed 724 archeological pieces stolen from Malawi in Minya.

On February 2, 2014, the tourism and antiquities police announced that 95 percent of the stolen artifacts from Malawi had been reclaimed, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

Additional reporting by Rany Mostafa.

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