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Category Archives: News
A French citizen offered Egypt a piece of ancient carttonage from a painted sarcophagus he inherited from his grandfather
Minister of State for Antiquities, Mohamed Ibrahim, announced that the piece is 19cm long and that the Ministry of Antiquities is working with the Egyptian Embassy in Paris to bring the piece to Egypt this week.
The minister added that Egypt has also recovered a marble statue of a lion from Germany and a collection of Ptolemaic vessels made of glass from France. According to Ibrahim, these objects were stolen from store galleries in the northeastern city of Qantarah Al-Sharqiyya as a result of the lack of security that overwhelmed the country following January 2011 revolution.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups have denounced Sunday’s deadly bomb attack in South Sinai on a tourist bus and called for the culprits to be brought to justice.
The Brotherhood, from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails, published a brief statement on its website Monday, demanding that justice be served through transparent procedures as soon as possible.
The Brotherhood was officially deemed a terrorist organisation by Egypt’s interim authorities following an explosion at a police headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura which left 16 dead.
The ultra-conservative Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya also released a statement Monday denouncing the bombing, adding that killing peaceful tourists is forbidden by Islam, state-run MENA reported.
The group also said that it is increasingly worried at the number of individuals who are using violence to confront an ongoing security crackdown against both Islamist and secular protesters.
Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya was responsible for a 1997 terrorist attack in Luxor governorate which left at least 58 foreigners and four Egyptians dead. Since then the group has abandoned violence, and denounced all terrorist attacks following Morsi’s ouster.
However, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL), a pro-Morsi coalition of Islamic groups including the Brotherhood and Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya, adopted a harsher tone towards Sunday’s attack in Taba.
In a statement published on the NASL’s official Facebook page, the coalition accused Egypt’s “coup authorities” – the current interim government – of being too busy “chasing after peaceful protesters and increasing oppression and poverty” to prevent terrorist attacks.
Interior ministry spokesperson Hani Abdel-Latif said on Monday that the bomb attack was caused by a suicide bomber who boarded the bus and detonated the explosion immediately after.
Attacks on army and police personnel have spiked following Morsi’s ouster. Sunday’s bombing, though, is the first to directly target tourists.
Egyptian liberal and leftist political groups were quick to denounce the attack on Sunday.
The car bomb which gutted Cairo’s central police headquarters early on Friday morning has also caused severe structural damage to Egypt’s National Library and Archives (NLA), located across the street from the security directorate targeted in the blast.
Minister of Culture Saber Arab told Ahram Online that all the NLA’s lighting and ventilation systems were completely destroyed, while the decorative facade, representative of Islamic architectural styles, had collapsed. He added that all showcases and furniture inside the building had also been badly damaged.
NLA head Abdul Nasser Hassan told Ahram Online that seven unique manuscripts and three rare scientific papyri had also been damaged. Hassan estimated that the losses will cost the government at least LE50 million in repairs.
Built in 1870 by Khedive Ismail and modelled on the national library in Paris, the NLA has since been Egypt’s treasure house for manuscripts, rare books and ancient Egyptian papyri. Ismail, one of modern Egypt’s great rulers, was known for pushing Egyptian culture and heritage into the international spotlight. As part of Ismail’s vision, the NLA has served as a national university and has nurtured and inspired thousands of thinkers and scientists.
Following the 1952 Revolution, the original building became so overwhelmed with books that a new site overlooking the Nile was built in 1971. However, the building was left unused for more than 25 years and fell into disrepair.
A restoration project launched in the 1990s saw the opening of the NLA’s current building in Bab Al-Khalq, not far from the heart of old Islamic Cairo.
The building was heralded as a remarkable example of integration, fusing historic Islamic architecture with more modern styles, and consisting of one main floor, two mezzanines and a three-storey manuscripts museum.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s top prosecutor referred three Germans to criminal court on charges of smuggling and damaging antiquities and six Egyptians for acting as their accessories.
Hisham Barakat said authorities issued arrest warrants for the alleged German thieves, who fled to their country after the incident. He said authorities would communicate with Germany to restore the pieces they say were taken last April under the pretext of use for research.
The Egyptian defendants are already in detention.
Barakat says the Germans, along with their Egyptian guides, entered the famed pyramids of Giza with permits to visit but not excavate, and left with samples of stone from the ramparts of two tombs and the burial room of King Khufu.
Egyptian archaeologist Monica Hanna says the German researchers wanted to use the samples prove their hypothesis in a documentary they later filmed, which says that the pyramids were built by a people that pre-dates the ancient Egyptians.
The online documentary, removed in the wake of the controversy, showed one researcher inside the inner chambers of the Khufu pyramid, taking samples from the king’s cartouche.
Egypt has experienced a security vacuum since its 2011 uprising. Thousands of artifacts have been stolen.”