Iran arrests thieves digging secret tunnel to steal from synagogue

"These people had secretly dug a tunnel leading to the historical synagogue inside their personal house located in the historical context & adjacent to the Kalimiyan Synagogue,” said Hijabi.

Kalimiyan Synagogue in Iran (photo credit: DIARNA)
Kalimiyan Synagogue in Iran
(photo credit: DIARNA)
A gang of illegal diggers in Urmia, Iran, who were trying to loot from a synagogue were arrested, Iran International TV reported.
"These people had secretly dug a tunnel leading to the historical synagogue inside their personal house, located in the historical context and adjacent to the Kalimiyan Synagogue in Urmia,” said Col. Behzad Hijabi, commander of the protection unit of the General Directorate of Heritage, Culture, Tourism and Handicrafts of West Azerbaijan Province.
“In this operation, while arresting two illegal diggers, a number of drilling tools and equipment such as electric wires, pulleys, ropes and buckets were seized," Hijabi continued, concluding by saying that "a number of pottery objects and broken pottery were also observed and confiscated around the dug tunnel."

Tunnel digged to Kalimiyan Synagogue in Iran (Credit: Diarna)Tunnel digged to Kalimiyan Synagogue in Iran (Credit: Diarna)
In 2017, two synagogues in Iran were vandalized, one in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz that had Torah scrolls ripped, as well as prayer books thrown in the toilet and prayer shawls and tefillin damaged.
In 2015, an ancient Torah scroll stolen from an unnamed synagogue in the same city was returned to the local Jewish community after it was found by the Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Basij paramilitary unit.
Iran had between 80,000 and 100,000 Jews before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but most have since fled, mainly to the United States, Israel and Europe.
There are now only about 8,500 left, mostly in Tehran but also in Isfahan and Shiraz, major cities south of the capital.