Residents of Mansoura were surprised on Thursday evening to find the replica of a statue of Senusret III, which is located in front of the Talkha Bridge, lying on the ground off of its base.
The Supreme Council of Antiquities accused Salafis of knocking down the statue, but the Daqahlia governor said erosion and wind were responsible.
The statue is a copy of the original statue of Senusret located in the Egyptian Museum, Atef Abul Dahab, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
He accused Salafis of taking action on their radical beliefs since the revolution by toppling the imitation statue.
Abul Dahab warned of the seriousness of the incident, saying it was the first of its kind, and stressed that next time Salafis might smash original statues and antiquities.
Mohamed Magdy, a Sufi follower, also accused Salafis of taking the statue down in an attempt to impose their beliefs on others.
Security sources said no one has filed a complaint about the incident, and ruled out the possibility that someone intended to destroy the statue.
Daqahlia Governor Salah al-Meadawy absolved Salafis of blame, stressing that erosion, air currents and the heavy load of advertising boards installed on the statue caused it to fall.
General Ahmed Khamisy said that the statue was made of fiberglass and that strong air currents degraded the material over time, also denying that hidden elements were behind what happened.
The statue is located close to the Mansoura Security Directorate and a police unit is stationed in front of the statue, Khamisy said, adding that policemen did not witness any foul play.
Khamisy said the statue was restored immediately to its place in order to prevent further rumors.
Translated from the Arabic Edition