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Many looted Egyptian artifacts go first to Israel, Switzerland

Egypt, which has lost more than $3 billion in stolen antiquities since 2011, hopes that the Obama administration will sign a memorandum of understanding in early June to make it easier for US Customs to confiscate smuggled treasures.
Egyptian Army special forces personnel stand guard beside a golden funerary mask of King Tutankhamun at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo February 16, 2011. Egypt's Antiquities Ministry has recovered some of the national treasures that went missing from the Egyptian Museum during an uprising which unseated Hosni Mubarak. The Ministry has found two of the eight missing artifacts outside the museum between a government building that got burned and the gift shop and will continue the search, Egypt's Minister of Ant

Israel has seized “hundreds and hundreds” of looted Egyptian antiquities smuggled through the Sinai desert but has not returned any of them to the Egyptian government, according to the head of a US-Egyptian organization seeking to help stem the rising plunder of Egypt’s cultural artifacts.

Deborah Lehr, chair of The Antiquities Coalition, an organization of private archaeologists, scholars and others working with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, said April 24 that Israel and Switzerland are hubs where criminals consolidate their loot before trying to sell items to collectors. She said the value of antiquities stolen from Egypt since political unrest erupted there in 2011 amounts to between $3 billion and $6 billion.

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