Related News

Home » World

Looted Baghdad museum reopened

IRAQ'S restored National Museum was formally dedicated yesterday ?? nearly six years after looters carried away priceless antiquities and treasures in the chaos following the United States-led invasion in 2003.

"It was a dark age that Iraq passed through," said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at a ceremony inside the museum.

Officials have touted the museum's reopening as another milestone in Baghdad's slow return to stability.

The museum has a hall devoted to antiquities that were looted but later returned or recovered, said Abdul-Zahrah al-Talqani, media director of Iraq's office of tourism and archaeology affairs.

"We have ended the black wind (of violence) and have started the reconstruction process," al-Maliki told hundreds of officials and guardians of Iraq's rich cultural heritage.

The museum - once one of the world's leading collections of artifacts spanning the Stone Age, Biblical era and the heights of Islamic culture - was nearly gutted in the mayhem after the fall of Saddam Hussein. US troops were intensely criticized for not protecting the museum's collection.

Up to 7,000 pieces are still missing, including about 40 to 50 considered to be of great historical importance, according to the United Nations cultural body UNESCO.

Elsewhere in Baghdad, a Sunni law maker accused of masterminding bombings and other brutalities claimed he is a victim of a government campaign to silence critics.

Mohammed al-Dayni alleged the Shiite-led government tortured two of his former bodyguards to make the accusations, including that he directed a 2007 bombing inside the parliament building that killed one person.

Violence has declined drastically in Baghdad but attacks continue to strike Iraqis.

Gunmen ambushed an Iraqi army checkpoint yesterday in western Baghdad, killing three soldiers and wounding eight other people, according to police. A roadside bombing in central Baghdad also killed at least two civilians and wounded six, said police.

Around the northern city of Mosul - considered the last urban stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq - more than 100 suspected insurgents and others have been arrested as part of an Iraqi-led offensive, said Brigadier General Saeed Ahmed al-Jibouri.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend