The customs authority in Dubai on Wednesday made what it called the single-largest seizure of smuggled Iraqi antiquities, when customs officers found 128 items hidden in a concealed compartment on board a boat that tried to enter the small Gulf kingdom, ArabianBusiness.com reported.
According to the report, the vessel was stopped when it entered the Dubai Creek Entry and the captain insisted on a speedy customs clearing process since his ship was empty. Customs officers became suspicious and decided to board the ship.
On board the officers found what looked like a false partition wall and asked the captain to remove it. Behind the wall the officers found cases containing objects including stone sculptures, pottery and silver vessels, gold and silver coins, worked pieces of gold and silver, and jewels, some more that 5,000 years old.
Some 15,000 artifacts were stolen from the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad in the chaos that followed the American invasion in 2003. According to the FBI, an estimated 7,000–10,000 objects are still missing from the museum.
In addition to the looting of the museum, numerous sites around the country were pillaged, resulting in the disappearance of some 10,000 additional objects.
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