Belgium returns 80 smuggled artifacts to Egypt

The Antiquities Ministry will receive on Monday 80 artifacts that were recently smuggled to Belgium, Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim Ali has said.

The minister said a committee has been formed to collect the artifacts from the Foreign Ministry, which received them from the Egyptian Embassy in Belgium this week.

The relics were found in possession of an Egyptian woman who smuggled them inside two fake wooden statues to Brussels in 2010. She was arrested at the airport. A Brussels museum proved the relics to be authentic and Interpol in Egypt was notified.

Egypt and Belgium cooperated to ensure that the artifacts were Egyptian and that they were illegally smuggled, the minister added.

Osama al-Nahhas, director of the recovered monuments department, said the smuggled items are from several Egyptian ages, including prehistoric, pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic and Islamic times. They included 27 scarabs, 13 pharaonic amulets, 11 stone and wooden statues and a Coptic tapestry.

Edited translation from MENA

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