Sale of pharaonic statuette foiled

Egypt's security authorities foiled the attempted sale of a statuette that investigators said carries pharaonic inscriptions.

The piece is 50cm tall and stands on a 50cm wide platform. In front of it there are three other stautettes, each 21cm high.

The two culprits, aged 39 and 36, were arrested after citizens informed security authorities of their possession and the intended sale. Both are unemployed.

One said during initial questioning that he had agreed with his partner to hide the object in his house until the deal went through. He said they had obtained the statuette through a middleman from Luxor.

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities has frequently complained in recent weeks of attempts to steal antiquities in various regions of the country. Such attempts have been numerous since security forces were withdrawn during the 25 January revolution.

Last March, the ministry said as many as 800 Pharaonic, Roman, and Islamic antiquities were destroyed or stolen during the revolution. An April statement by the ministry said it did not posses accurate data on the number of pieces stolen due to the wide scale of the heists.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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