The United States will hand over to Iraq two valuable artifacts smuggled out of the country. Ahmed al-Sahhaf, spokesman for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, announced this on Tuesday, TASS reports.
The Consulate General of the Republic of Iraq in Los Angeles, in coordination and cooperation with the US FBI, will receive two artifacts over 4,000 years old. This became possible after the seizure [of the items] by the US authorities as part of efforts to combat the illegal trade in Iraqi antiquities and return them to their homeland, said an Iraqi foreign ministry official, quoted by the INA news agency.
He noted that the first item is a cuneiform tablet from the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, the second is a fragment of a cuneiform text from the time of Ancient Babylon. He also added that the solemn ceremony of handing over the artifacts will take place on January 20 at the Iraqi Consulate General in Los Angeles.
The Islamic State militants occupied about a third of Iraqi territory in the summer of 2014. In June of the same year, they captured the second largest city in the country, Mosul, and declared it the capital of the so-called caliphate.
In 2015, with the support of an international coalition, Iraqi government forces launched a large-scale campaign to liberate areas captured by extremists.
The authorities announced victory over the terrorists in December 2017. During this period, the terrorists operating in the Iraqi territories appropriated and removed thousands of valuable artifacts and antiquities from the country, destroyed and devastated many museums and historical sites, plundered significant archaeological zones, conducting illegal excavations on them.