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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

US returns to Lebanon relics stolen during civil war

The ancient artefacts included a bull's head, which was recovered this summer from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it had been on loan

The current crop of books on Beirut has been produced by writers who have few first-hand memories of the Civil War, and rank the war of 2006 as a more formative experience. AFP
The current crop of books on Beirut has been produced by writers who have few first-hand memories of the Civil War, and rank the war of 2006 as a more formative experience. AFP

The United States on Friday returned to Lebanese officials three relics stolen during Lebanon's civil war, including a statue once exhibited at New York's premier museum, officials said.

The ancient artefacts included a bull's head, which was recovered this summer from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it had been on loan.

Believed to be of Greek origin, the marble head dates to around 360BC and has been valued at around $1.2 million (Dh4.4m).

The museum said it handed the head over to the Manhattan district attorney's office after a curator discovered that it may have been stolen during Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.

The other relics — two marble torsos dating to the 4th and 6th century BC — were excavated in the 1970s from near Sidon, in southwestern Lebanon. The items were subsequently stolen during the war, US officials said.

The Manhattan district attorney, who attended the repatriation ceremony with Lebanon's consul general to New York, says his office has recovered several thousand trafficked antiquities since 2012, valued at more than $150 million.