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Iraq to retrieve 5,000 artifacts from Britain

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The Iraqi government confirmed on Friday that Britain will return nearly 5,000 looted artifacts, the largest process of returning smuggled Iraqi antiquities.


A statement by the media office of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said that during his official visit to Britain, al-Kadhimi visited the British Museum in London and was briefed on the artifacts that will be officially delivered to Iraq early next year.


"The number of artifacts prepared for delivery to the Iraqi government is estimated at 5,000 pieces of clay tablets," the statement said, adding that the return of such a number of looted artifacts is the largest so far.


According to official statistics, about 15,000 archaeological pieces of Iraqi treasure-trove were stolen or destroyed by looters mainly in the Iraqi national museum in Baghdad, after Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled by U.S.-led troops in 2003.


Furthermore, the statistics showed that over 10,000 sites in Iraq are officially recognized as archaeological sites, but most of them are not safeguarded and many are still being looted.

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