Forces supporting the return of Mohammed Morsi to the Egyptian presidency are reportedly behind the “biggest theft to hit an Egyptian Museum in living memory,” The Globe and Mail of Toronto reported.
Egyptian villagers hold banners near the 4,500-year-old "bent" pyramid, of Pharaoh Sneferu known for its oddly shaped profile, outside the village of Dahshour, 50 miles south of Cairo, Egypt, April 29, 2013. Protesters held a rally against the continued construction of a modern cemetery at the foot of Egypt’s first pyramids and its oldest temples. Authorities have so far failed to stop the construction, despite earlier promises to do so. Looting has also spread in the site that has witnessed little excavation, in the absence of security or law enforcement. (AP)
Egypt, in the midst of chaotic violence after the military government's crackdown on pro-Morsi demonstrators, is often called the "cradle of civilization." The country's history came under attack when pro-Morsi forces looted more than 1,000 artifacts – burning mummies, breaking statues and hauling off ancient beaded jewelry from Malawi Museum in the southern Nile River city of Minya.
A lack of police presence anywhere other than Cairo – where the bulk of violence has taken place – has left an opening for looting and lesser crimes in other parts of the country.
Stolen antiques reportedly included the daughter of Pharaoh Akhenaten, who ruled during the 18th dynasty. It also included gold and bronze Greco-Roman coins, pottery and bronze-detailed sculptures of animals sacred to Thoth, a deity often represented with the head of an ibis or a baboon.
“I told them that this is property of the Egyptian people and you are destroying it. They were apparently upset with me because I am not veiled," museum archaeologist Monica Hanna said.
Hanna added, “We were working and lowering our heads so they do not fire on us. There were snipers on rooftops.”
[H/T: Globe and Mail]