Iraq accuses neighbours of stealing archives

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BAGHDAD — Iraq on Sunday accused its neighbours of stealing vast sections of its national archives, including documents dating back centuries, after the 2003 US-led invasion of the country.

Some 60 percent of the archives, amounting to tens of millions of documents, were missing or had been damaged and destroyed as a result of water leaks and a fire at a storage centre in Bab al-Muatham in Baghdad's old quarter.

"Historic documents to do with Iraq's relations with its neighbours have been taken -- they were either bought from smugglers, or recovered them from various political factions," National Archives director Saad Iskander said.

"We are not making assumptions, because we have evidence that these documents were taken to these countries," he told AFP.
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