Artifact storehouse robbed on Monday due to police absence

Around 60 thieves broke into the Selim Hassan artifact storehouse near the Pyramids on Monday, said Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass.

Hawass told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the army left the location when police were re-deployed, having been withdrawn by the government on 28 January. But the police are not protecting monuments, which makes them vulnerable to robbery, he said.

The ministry has set up a committee to determine what items have been stolen.

The only way to protect monuments is for the police to carry out their role, he said, but also asked citizens to protect the country's heritage.

Ali al-Asfar, director of the Pyramids heritage site, said the gang broke in after surrounding the guards, gagging and disarming them. He said that the store–closed since 1960–is underground and has three doors, one of stone, two of wood and iron.

Hawass said the thieves dug a small tunnel into the store, so were probably unable to remove larger boxes.

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