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Old 05-07-2003, 06:50 PM   #1
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artifacts, manuscripts found in Iraq

U.S. Says Recovers Manuscripts and Artifacts in Iraq

Updated 4:50 PM ET May 7, 2003


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Teams of U.S. customs agents and military have recovered about 700 artifacts and located some 39,400 manuscripts missing from the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, customs officials on Wednesday.

The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement that teams of ICE special agents were in Iraq working with the U.S. military to hunt down priceless Iraqi treasures missing from the museum since a wave of looting last month as U.S.-led forces ended Saddam Hussein's rule.

U.S. and British forces have been criticized for failing to protect museums and archeological sites during the war even though they had advance warning of the danger to Iraq's historical treasures.

The statement said ICE special agents were deployed to the region before the war began, with some embedded in U.S. military units to conduct investigative operations.

'After reports of looting from Iraqi museums first surfaced, ICE agents in Iraq proposed an immediate art recovery effort with the U.S. military,' the statement said.

Once in Baghdad, ICE agents and U.S. military officials worked with Iraqi art curators to catalog items missing from the museum. ICE agents also began sleeping in the museum to help protect it from further looting.

Among the items believed to be missing from the museum, which housed thousands of rare objects and artifacts from Mesopotamia, were the Vase of Uruk and the Harp of Ur, dating back to between 3,000 and 2,500 B.C.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has said there was evidence that organized criminal gangs were behind the looting and vowed that the United States and Interpol would hunt down the thieves and track down the antiquities.

U.S. officials have offered rewards and amnesty for anyone voluntarily returning artifacts.

In addition to items being returned, agents also found that many missing items had been stored for safekeeping in hidden vaults before the war. Several of the vaults have been found in recent days, the statement said.

'In a few of the storage vaults, ICE agents found evidence that certain, select high-value pieces had been stolen,' the statement said. It said agents are also following leads about missing Iraqi artifacts turning up in foreign nations and some being offered for sale in Iraq.
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Old 05-07-2003, 08:02 PM   #2
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Re: artifacts, manuscripts found in Iraq

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Teams of U.S. customs agents and military have recovered about 700 artifacts and located some 39,400 manuscripts missing from the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, customs officials on Wednesday.
Really good news.
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Old 05-07-2003, 08:25 PM   #3
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Re: Re: artifacts, manuscripts found in Iraq

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Really good news.
Yeah, isn't that cool??
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Old 05-09-2003, 11:20 AM   #4
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Let's hope there were more "positive looters" than we expected in the first day.
Like "Ebrahim Aladris" who was imprisoned for political reasons and looted as many documents about torture of the Iraqi regime with some of his friends to save these documents (approx. 5 million) for the post-war Iraq.
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