July 12, 2010 20:13 PM
Hamas Foils Antiques Smuggling In Gaza
GAZA, July 12 (Bernama) — Hamas authorities on Monday said they have foiled an attempt to smuggle ancient antiques from the Gaza Strip to Israel.
The police arrested four smugglers who were trying to take the antiques out through the security fence separating Gaza and Israel, Ayman al-Batniji, spokesman for the police told China’s Xinhua news agency, adding that the arrested have been sent for interrogation.
Al-Batniji said “the antiquities are owned by the state.”
According to sources from the Hamas-run Ministry of Tourism, the seized antiques could date back to the Canaanite era in 2300 BC and the Roman era.
The unnamed sources said Gaza, controlled by the Hamas since 2007, had been the place of several civilization, but many of its monuments were stolen during the occupations and mandates it suffered during the last century.
Some rich people in Gaza used to collect antiques. In 2008, a Gaza businessman opened the first museum in the enclave, housing what he could collect and buy from people.