Egypt demands return of ancient artifacts for sale in Jerusalem auction

Cairo calls on Israel to conduct background checks on the proof of ownership of Pharaonic era items.

Egyptian artifacts 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Egyptian artifacts 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Egyptian Antiquities Authority is working to stop the sale of ancient Egyptian artifacts in an online auction hall in Jerusalem, Al Ahram reported on Saturday.
Antiquities Ministry official Ali Ahmad said that the 126 pieces in question, from the Pharaonic era, were traced through a routine search of international auction halls periodically carried out by Egyptian authorities.
Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mohamad Ibrahim turned to Interpol to “follow up with the responsible authorities in Jerusalem and to ask the Israeli authorities to conduct background checks on the proof of ownership and explain how it left Egypt as a prelude to reclaim,” AFP reported.
Ibrahim is demanding that the 126 pieces be returned to Egypt. According to Al-Ahram, the artifacts include a collection of ancient Egyptian clay vessels, vases and figurines.
In April of 2012, the Israel Antiquities Authority seized two rare ancient Egyptian sarcophagus covers in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The objects were believed to have been stolen from tombs in Egypt and subsequently transported through Dubai and Europe en route to Jerusalem.
Israel implemented a regulation last year only allowing the import of antiquities certified to have been legally exported from their country of origin.