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Iraq recovers thousands of smuggled artifacts for national museum

The visit of the Iraqi prime minister to Washington led to the recovery of thousands of smuggled artifacts, including the Assyrian Gilgamesh tablet, leading the premier to announce the reopening of the Iraqi National Museum.
Staff members at Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs work around crates of looted Iraqi antiquities returned by the United States, ahead of a handover ceremony at the ministry in the capital Baghdad, on Aug. 3, 2021.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi issued instructions July 30 to reopen the Iraqi National Museum after the recovery of 17,000 looted artifacts from the United States. The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Aug. 3 that Iraq had received the Assyrian "Gilgamesh Dream Tablet" and other artifacts from other countries.

Thousands of antiquities were looted from Iraq after the US invasion of 2003, either by smugglers, or at the hands of the Islamic State, which controlled a third of Iraqi territory between 2014 and 2017.

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