Security personnel on Sunday caught a Palestinian man trying to smuggle rare coins, thought to be from the time of Alexander the Great, from the Gaza Strip into Israel, the Defense Ministry said Sunday.
Officials from the Border Crossing Authority thwarted the attempt when they detained a Palestinian merchant as he attempted to enter Israel through the Erez crossing with four valuable coins, thought to be some 2,300 years old.
The coins were allegedly smuggled from Egypt into the Gaza Strip and were en route to Israel for sale.
The coins show Herakles (known later to the Romans as Hercules) on their face, and a seated Zeus, who was the head god of the ancient Greeks, on the reverse side. Zeus is holding a scepter and eagle.
It is difficult to estimate the value of the coins because there are many variables which can affect the price, but they could be worth thousands of dollars. The Israel Antiquities Authority is examining the coins.
The suspect was detained for questioning.