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Egypt retrieves smuggled artifacts, ancient coins busted in Italy

Egypt retrieves smuggled artifacts, ancient coins busted in Italy

Egypt retrieved hundreds of smuggled artifacts and thousands of ancient coins busted by the Italian authorities in the city of Naples months ago, the Egyptian general prosecution said in a statement Saturday.

The statement said that “195 small artifacts and 21,660 coins dating back to the ancient Egyptian civilization have arrived at Cairo airport.”

The Egyptian prosecution has previously ordered a massive probe into the smuggling of such precious Egyptian pieces.

The recovered relics included 151 small funerary figurines known as “shabtis,” five mummy masks, a wooden coffin, two small wooden boats, 11 pottery vessels and three colored ceramic tiles dating back to the Islamic era, said the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities in a statement Saturday.

“The pieces are currently being restored to be temporarily displayed soon at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir in downtown Cairo,” Mostafa Waziri, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in the statement.

Egypt dismissed reports that the smuggled artifacts were discovered in a shipped container belonging to an Egyptian diplomat and said it belonged to an Italian citizen.

From March 2016 to May 2018, Egypt recovered around 1,000 artifacts smuggled to 10 different countries, said Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani in a recent cabinet meeting.