CAIRO: The Arish National Museum was partially damaged by Thursday’s Sinai deadly attack but none of the antiques in the museum were affected or lost, according to Head of Museum Department at the Antiquities Ministry Ahmed Sharaf Sunday.
“The museum has been closed for public since July 2013 and thus its showcases are empty. The masterpieces were transported to the antiquities ministry’s central storehouses at the start of the militant attacks in July 2013 while the other artifacts in the museum are safe in the basement of the building,” Sharaf was quoted by Youm7 Sunday.
The attack, which included mortar fire and a car bomb, has caused severe damage to the main entrance gate and the façade; one of the side buildings and several ceilings have collapsed and glass doors and windows have shattered, said Sharaf.
“The Antiquities Ministry has dispatched a technical committee to check the damage caused to the building and submit a recommendation report to save the artifacts,” he added.
The Arish National Museum was inaugurated by Egypt’s former first lady Suzanne Mubarak. It houses over 1,200 artifacts, discovered in the Sinai Peninsula and spanning all the eras of Egypt’s 5,000 year-old civilization.
Hisham Hussein, the head of the Sinai archaeological area, called on the Antiquities Ministry to transport all the artifacts in the museum’s basement to a safer place given that the museum is located next to the Al-Arish security directorate, a central point for militant attacks.
“I have previously called for the transfer of the artifacts at the museum following the October suicide blast, which targeted a security checkpoint in Sheikh Zuwayed and killed 30 military personnel,” said Hussein.
At least 161 artifacts of the Islamic Museum in Cairo were either totally destroyed or seriously damaged following a blast that mainly targeted the adjacent Cairo Security Directorate on Jan. 24, 2014.