Six antiquities thieves arrested for looting protected northern sites

The thieves were likely looking for fictional buried treasures to sell on the black market.

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December 13, 2017 17:15
1 minute read.
A suspect is arrested for looting a protected archelogical site, December 2017

A suspect is arrested for looting a protected archelogical site, December 2017. (photo credit: NIR DISTELFELD/ ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)

 
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Police have arrested six antiquities thieves accused of looting two archeological sites in the north of the country.

According to the Antiquities Authority, the incidents took place near the Lower Galilee, inside a 2,000-year-old burial cave on Mount Hazon, and in Horbat Devora, near the village of Daburiya.

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The thieves, from the Druse village of Maghar, were likely looking for fictional buried treasures to sell on the black market, said Nir Distelfeld, an inspector of the authority’s anti-robbery unit.

“These folktales bring antiquities pirates who are looking for quick riches at the expense of destroying the heritage of all of us,” said Distelfeld on Wednesday.

“Several antiquities sites dating from the Roman period to the 1st century CE are known in the area,” he continued.

“These ancient sites include quarries, caves, and an industrial complex that was previously identified as a tile-manufacturing center of the Roman Sixth Legion.”

While details of the arrests remain unclear, Distelfeld said the suspects were detained at the Tiberias police station, interrogated, and then released on bail.



“It’s sad that money drives people to do this,” he lamented.

“Illegal excavations at the archeological sites are causing the irreversible destruction of heritage sites, and the history of all of us has been permanently damaged.”

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