Looted Iraqi artifacts to be returned

Officials in Washington return precious artifacts from Iraq that were illegally brought into the United States.

July 8, 2011 20:40
1 minute read.
Iraqi artifacts

Iraqi artifacts_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

Ancient Terra-cotta and a necklace that dates back to the second or third century B.C. --- these are just a few of the many Iraqi artifacts illegally brought to the U.S. after the 2003 invasion.

Today, they are headed home.

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At a news conference in Washington, Iraq's ambassador to the US Samir Sumadiaie responded to the announcement.

"Iraq has endured a great deal but on days like this, we rekindle hope and look to the future with optimism as we reconstruct our country and we reconstruct our heritage," he said.

The items were found in a wide range of places -- military containers, Christie's auction house and on the website Craigslist. Investigators in the US have been tracking looted items for years.

FBI Special Agent Robert Haskins says the return of dozens of items is the culmination of years of work by US investigators.

"This is a great day for the FBI," he said. "This is a huge plus for us because with a little bit extra effort by some investigators, we got our hands on these antiquities that are priceless."

Many of the items that have turned up in other countries have been repatriated to Iraq, but thousands are still missing.

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