Photo Credit: Israel Police
One of the recovered stolen archaeological artifacts. Dec. 8, 2021

The Israeli police arrested on Tuesday night three Arab suspects in the heart of Jerusalem with dozens of archaeological items in their vehicle, some of them from the period of the Bar-Kochba revolt in 130 CE.

A detective team from the Lev HaBira police station in the Jerusalem district noticed a vehicle with three people in it who aroused their suspicion, and they asked to inspect the vehicle.

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During the vehicle’s inspection, detectives noted many archaeological items in the possession of the suspects, two of them residents of eastern Jerusalem and the third from the Palestinian Authority.

A professional inspection by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) identified the items from the Bar Kochba Revolt, and the Roman and Byzantine periods.

The suspects were transferred to the police station for further investigation, in coordination with IAA.

This is the second case in recent days in which police from the Jerusalem District located archaeological items illegally held in the possession of Arab suspects.

On Sunday, detectives located archaeological items thousands of years old in the possession of an eastern Jerusalem resident in his 30s, including a Hasmonean coin from the time of Matityahu Antigonus bearing the Temple Menorah, a biblical seal with an ancient Hebrew inscription, and an oil candle from the Hasmonean period.

Felons committing antiquities-related offenses can face up to five years in prison under Israeli law.

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