Iraq Troops Recover Antiquities

From Bloomberg:

Iraqi commandos smashed a smuggling ring, recovering 235 looted Babylonian and Sumerian artifacts that they turned over to the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry. 
The soldiers arrested a gang of seven thieves who were preparing to smuggle the objects outside of Iraq, according to a statement e-mailed today by the U.S. military in Baghdad. They were tipped off by residents in the southern Iraqi towns of Abu al-Kahsib, Bab al-Tawael and al-Amir. 
Among the artifacts presented to the ministry in a ceremony this week were gold jewelry, ceramics and stone figurines, the military said. They weren’t marked with museum serial numbers, suggesting they were illegally dug up from one of Iraq’s estimated 40,000 archeological sites. 
“The Iraqi Army is putting extraordinary pressure on smuggling gangs that steal Iraq’s history to finance terrorist operations,” Defense Minister Abd al-Qadir said in the statement. “The recovery of the artifacts was a joyous occasion because they could not be replaced with money and represented 5,000 years of Iraqi history.”
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