Iraq finds missing artifacts in premier’s storage
BAGHDAD – More than 600 ancient artifacts that were smuggled out of Iraq, recovered and lost again have been found misplaced among kitchen supplies in storage at the prime minister’s office, the antiquities minister said Monday.
The 638 items include pieces of jewelry, bronze figurines and cylindrical seals from the world’s most ancient civilizations that were looted from the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. After their recovery, the U.S. military delivered them last year to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office, where they were misplaced and forgotten about.
The artifacts, packed in sealed boxes, were misplaced because of poor coordination between the Iraqi government ministries in charge of recovering and handling archaeological treasures, said Tourism and Antiquities Minister Qahtan al-Jabouri.