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Egypt Antiquities Chief Zahi Hawass Says He May Quit – NYTimes.com

Egypt Antiquities Chief Says He May Quit – NYTimes.com.

In a marked shift from his previous statements, Egypt’s minister of antiquities, Zahi Hawass, said on Tuesday that his department was unable to protect Egypt’s historic sites and artifacts and that he was considering resigning. In a telephone interview he said that thieves on Monday broke into two warehouses near the pyramids of Giza that held artifacts excavated in the early 20th century. It was not yet clear what had been taken. He said that the police were no longer protecting Egypt’s monuments and that his own staff was unarmed and unable to stop attacks. “During the revolution nothing happened, but after the revolution many things are happening everywhere,” Mr. Hawass said. “People building houses, taking archaeological land, excavating at night — it’s like a nightmare, and I don’t know what I can do.” Mr. Hawass’s statement that nothing happened to Egypt’s antiquities during the uprising that led to the fall of President Hosni Mubarak’s government was inaccurate: thieves broke into the Egyptian Museum on the night of Jan. 28and took 18 objects, only three of which — and parts of others — have been recovered. Mr. Hawass did not acknowledge that the objects were missing until two weeks after the break-in. On Tuesday Mr. Hawass said that people had also been caught excavating at night at Abydos, an important archaeological site north of Luxor. He said that he had appealed on Facebook for the people who led Egypt’s revolution to help him protect the country’s heritage.

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