Looters have pillaged a number of warehouses containing ancient Egyptian artifacts, stealing and damaging some of them, archaeologists and warehouse workers said on Monday.
A group of looters attacked a warehouse at the Qantara Museum near the city of Ismailia on the Suez Canal that contained 3,000 objects from the Roman and Byzantine periods, a source at the tourism police said.
Israelis had found many of the objects in the Sinai after they occupied the peninsula during the 1967 war with Egypt, and had been returned to Egypt only recently .
A warehouse worker said the looters had claimed they were searching for gold. The worker told them there was no gold, but they continued to pillage the storehouse, smashing some items and taking others.
Warehouses near the pyramids of Saqqara and Abu Sir also were looted, an archaeologist said.
"At other locations, guards and villagers were able to successfully repel gangs of looters," the archaeologist said.
On Friday, looters broke into the Cairo museum, home to the world's greatest collection of Pharaonic treasures, smashing several statues and damaging two mummies, while police battled anti-government protesters on the streets.
The culture, monuments, temples and pyramids of ancient Egypt have left a lasting legacy on the world and are a major draw for the country's tourism industry.
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