US finally returns looted relics to Iraq’s museum

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has ordered the reopening of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, after some 17,000 looted artefacts were recovered from the US. “With the return of 17,000 Iraqi artefacts, I ordered the reopening of the Iraq Museum to the public and researchers,” al-Kadhimi said in a tweet. 

On Wednesday, Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Antiquities Hassan Nadhim said in a statement that the retrieved tablets date back to 4,500 years ago and bear cuneiform inscriptions documenting the trade exchanges during the Sumerian civilisation. 

According to the official statistics, about 15,000 pieces of cultural relics from the Stone Age, the Babylonian, Assyrian and Islamic periods were stolen or destroyed by looters after Saddam Hussein’s regime was toppled by US-led troops in 2003. More than 10,000 sites in Iraq are officially recognised as archaeological sites, but most of them are not safeguarded.

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