Looted artefacts are funding Isis campaign

Items likely to have been looted include early Bronze Age tablets with cuneiform writing

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The Independent Online

Isis is looting artefacts in Syria and Iraq on a massive scale, MPs have warned.

Antiquities have become one of the extreme Islamist militant group’s main sources of funding, along with oil sales, extortion and ransom.

Tory MP Robert Jenrick told The Art Newspaper: “This is the greatest scale of looting we have seen since the Second World War.” He added that the illicit sale was “no longer just an issue for people with an interest in the art world or cultural heritage”, because of its role in funding terrorism.

According to the International Council of Museums’ “red list” of Syrian artefacts, items likely to have been looted include early Bronze Age tablets with cuneiform writing, 8,000-year-old terracotta figurines of women “with emphasised sexual features”, and alabaster and bone “eye idols” from about 3,200BC. The Iraq red list includes clay chariot models from about 4,000 years ago, 4,500-year-old gold bowls from the Royal Cemetery  of Ur, and 5,000-year-old “scarlet ware” jars.

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