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Egypt’s museums looted during riots

The wave of unrest and chaos in Egypt has given an opportunity for thieves to loot many of the country’s museums.
Security guard the main gate of the closed Islamic Art Museum, which was damaged by a car bomb attack targeting the nearby Cairo Security Directorate on Friday, in downtown Cairo January 26, 2014. Egypt will hold a presidential vote before electing parliament, President Adly Mansour said on Sunday, reneging on a roadmap and increasing the likelihood that army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will be elected as head of state within months. Parliamentary elections were supposed to happen first under the tim

Antiquities thieves have benefitted the most from the waves of riots and lawlessness in Egypt, and they are making fortunes. More treasures are being stolen and sold on the black market with every wave of unrest. Perhaps the most prominent looting incident was that of the Egyptian Museum during the events of Jan. 28, 2011. 

That tragedy was repeated with the looting of the Malawi Museum when the Rabia al-Adawiya and Nahda squares sit-ins were broken up on Aug. 14 of last year, and in the looting of the Islamic Museum on Jan. 24. Those incidents have encouraged other thieves to loot antiquities sites by exploiting riots. Targeting museums and archaeological sites has become common during the riots, when security chaos keeps the police busy.

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