CAIRO — Would-be looters broke into Cairo's famed Egyptian Museum, ripping the heads off two mummies and damaging about 10 small artifacts before being caught and detained by army soldiers, Egypt's antiquities chief said Saturday.
Zahi Hawass said the vandals did not manage to steal any of the museum's antiquities, and that the prized collection was now safe and under military guard.
With mass anti-government protests still roiling the country and unleashing chaos on the streets, fears that looters could target other ancient treasures at sites across the country prompted the military to dispatch armored personnel carriers and troops to the Pyramids of Giza, the temple city of Luxor and other key archaeological monuments.
Hawass said now that the Egyptian Museum's collection is secure from thieves, the greatest threat to the collection inside is posed by the torched ruling party headquarters building next door.
"What scares me is that if this building is destroyed, it will fall over the museum," Hawass said as he watched fire trucks spray water on the still smoldering NDP headquarters.