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Police recover stolen ancient coins, lamps, other antiquities near Hebron

Some items dated to Hellenistic period over two millennia ago; trove said valued at tens of thousands of dollars

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Antiquities recovered in a police raid on a Palestininan home in Beit Ula, near Hebron on May 10, 2017. (Police Spokesperson)
Antiquities recovered in a police raid on a Palestininan home in Beit Ula, near Hebron on May 10, 2017. (Police Spokesperson)

Dozens of ancient coins, oil lamps, jewelry and Jewish ritual objects were found in a police raid on a home in the village of Beit Ula, northwest of Hebron, on Wednesday.

The stolen antiquities were valued at tens of thousands of dollars, according to officials.

Police detained the homeowner, a Palestinian man in his 50s.

Archaeologists who examined the cache said the antiquities were from a broad cross-section of historical periods, from Hellenistic to Roman and Byzantine times, and on into the Middle Ages.

The detainee will be brought before a military court Thursday to have his remand extended, police said.

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In April, a Palestinian man suspected of smuggling hundreds of antiquities was arrested by police in a village outside Nablus in the West Bank.

A joint police and Civil Administration operation found a trove of antiquities mostly dating to the Hellenistic, Second Temple and Roman periods whose value was estimated at thousands of dollars.

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

Antiquities recovered in a police raid on a Palestininan home in Beit Ula, near Hebron on May 10, 2017. (Police Spokesperson)
Antiquities recovered in a police raid on a Palestininan home in Beit Ula, near Hebron on May 10, 2017. (Police Spokesperson)

Ilan Ben Zion contributed to this report.

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