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Irish Indiana Jones returns stolen ark to the Ethiopians

He is no Indiana Jones, but a bespectacled Irish doctor has drawn comparisons with the Hollywood hero by returning a replica of the Lost Ark of the Covenant to its home in Ethiopia, 135 years after it was taken by British troops.

Ian MacLennan, from Co Donegal, stumbled across the small wooden tabot, or tabernacle, in London's Maggs bookshop last month. Dr MacLennan recognised the sacred treasure, bought it and quietly flew it back to Ethiopia last Sunday.

"It was quite emotional. A tabot is a sacred thing; you can't look at it for long. I didn't feel I should be handling it," he said.

The tabot represents the original Ark of the Covenant, in which the Israelites supposedly took the 10 Commandments to the Promised Land. The returned tabot was stolen in 1868 from Maqdala, a mountain citadel.