The Israel Antiquities Authority’s theft prevention unit and Israel Police bust a group of suspected antiquities thieves digging in the forest near Beit Keshet, east of Nazareth in the Lower Galilee.

The three men, residents of the adjacent village of Daburiya, were digging in a nearby cave next to an archaeological site. The IAA says that the likelihood of them finding valuable antiquities was low, but the damage inflicted to the archaeological site is significant.

The head of the IAA’s theft prevention unit, Amir Ganor, says the group was the 12th busted since the beginning of the year. Last year, the unit arrested 41 separate groups of alleged antiquities thieves caught in the act, he says.

The archaeological site of Daburiya has yielded remains of a Roman- and Byzantine-era town, as well as artifacts dating to the Iron Age and Hellenistic period.

— Ilan Ben Zion

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