MORE SMUGGLIING -- THIS TIME IN BETHLEHEM -- PALESTINIANS ALERTED
Palestinian Authority Tourism and Antiquities police on Thursday seized 900 artifacts as they were being smuggled out of Bethlehem, police said. Bethlehem police chief Alaa al-Shalabi said they received a tip-off from the Ministry of Tourism that a man from Jerusalem was smuggling the antiques out, which are illegal to own or sell under Palestinian law.
The suspected was detained at the scene, where police found 830 metal coins from the Byzantine, Roman and Islamic area, as well as 70 works of pottery dating back to the Cannanite area, among other antiques, al-Shalabi said. Police also found a ceremonial coffin from the Roman period that is estimated to be over 3,500 years old. The coffin formed part of the Roman burial tradition, he said.
Under Palestinian law, antiques and artifacts belong to the Palestinian Authority for the preservation of heritage and culture.