Egypt's Tombs, Temples Under Siege

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Egyptians are bravely defending their cultural heritage, according to a statement from Ismail Serageldin, librarian of Alexandria and director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

“The young people organized themselves into groups that directed traffic, protected neighborhoods and guarded public buildings of value such as the Egyptian Museum and the Library of Alexandria,” he said.

“The library is safe thanks to Egypt’s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters,” Serageldin said.

However, the risk for cultural and archaeological sites remains high.

The West Bank, where the mortuary temples and the Valley of the Kings are located, is without any security, with only villagers trying to protect the sites.

“All the antiquities in the area have been protected by the locals all night, and nothing has been touched,” Mostafa Wazery, director of the Valley of Kings at Luxor, said.

According to Monica Hanna, an Egyptian Egyptologist, many other cultural sites have been abandoned by the police.

“The Coptic Museum is left without security, as well as the areas of Memphite Necropolis south of the Pyramids. One can only imagine what is happening at the sites in more remote areas in Lower Egypt,” Hanna told Discovery News.

Reports also are circulating about looters at the Supreme Council of Antiquities’ storage magazine in Qantara Sharq, as well as some other magazines in South Saqqara.

Indeed, Abusir and Saqqara are reported to have suffered great damage.

“All the sealed tombs were entered last night. Only the Imhotep Museum and the adjacent central magazines are currently protected by the military. Large gangs are digging day and night everywhere,” Hanna said....

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