In an attempt to find Van Gogh’s stolen masterpiece, known both as Poppy Flowers and Vase and Flowers, authorities at Cairo International Airport have imposed a state of emergency . Meanwhile, the Italian embassy in Cairo denied the involvement of two Italian tourists initially accused in the theft.
In a statement issued today, the embassy said, “With regards to the theft of Van Gogh’s painting Poppy Flowers from the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo, the Italian embassy in Cairo denies the allegations of involvement of the two Italian tourists which were made and then later denied by Egyptian Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni.”
The statement also said that news “being circulated by both local and international media coverage regarding this issue is devoid of any truth.”
A number of security personnel arrived at Cairo International Airport, Monday morning, after Egypt’s Ministry of Interior received information that a number of suspects might be travelling on an Air Cairo flight heading to Bologna, Italy. The luggage of the nearly 100 passengers on the flight was manually searched in hopes of finding the stolen painting. The painting, valued at nearly US$ 60 million, was not recovered.
Italian authorities discontinued the monitoring of Italians returning home from Egypt. This decision came following Hosni’s retraction of the involvement of the two Italians. Italian newspapers had published news of the theft as well as Hosni’s retraction.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.