Police uncover antiquities trove in West Bank bust
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Police uncover antiquities trove in West Bank bust

Palestinian suspect arrested; artifacts confiscated include Hellenistic and Roman-era coins, jewelry and ceramics

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Antiquities and antiques confiscated by the Israel Police and Civil Administration from a suspected antiquities trafficker in the West Bank village of Hawara, near Nablus, on April 25, 2017. (Israel Police)
Antiquities and antiques confiscated by the Israel Police and Civil Administration from a suspected antiquities trafficker in the West Bank village of Hawara, near Nablus, on April 25, 2017. (Israel Police)

A Palestinian man suspected of smuggling hundreds of antiquities was arrested early Tuesday morning by Israeli police in a village outside Nablus in the West Bank.

A police spokesman said officers working in cooperation with the Civil Administration’s archaeological unit searched the suspect’s house in Hawara and found a trove of antiquities mostly dating to the Hellenistic, Second Temple and Roman periods “estimated to be worth thousands of dollars.”

Among the antiquities were “hundreds of coins from various historical periods, jewelry and pottery,” police said.

Photographs of the artifacts released by the police spokesperson’s unit showed several large ceramic vessels apparently in pristine condition, an assortment of limestone vessels commonly used by Jews during the Second Temple era, and two rusty-looking firearms that appeared to be from the first half of the 20th century.

Antiquities and antiques confiscated by the Israel Police and Civil Administration from a suspected antiquities trafficker in the West Bank village of Hawara, near Nablus, on April 25, 2017. (Israel Police)
Antiquities and antiques confiscated by the Israel Police and Civil Administration from a suspected antiquities trafficker in the West Bank village of Hawara, near Nablus, on April 25, 2017. (Israel Police)

The police arrested the 50-year-old man on suspicion of antiquities trafficking and launched an investigation to determine whether he was part of a larger network of antiquities looters and dealers operating in the West Bank and Israel.

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