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Two Spaniards arrested over smuggling of artifacts looted by ISIS

Spanish police have arrested two men for allegedly smuggling pieces of art looted by groups affiliated with ISIS from...

Posted: Mar 29, 2018 1:26 PM
Updated: Mar 29, 2018 1:26 PM

Spanish police have arrested two men for allegedly smuggling pieces of art looted by groups affiliated with ISIS from sites in Libya.

Authorities there believe this to be the first ever police operation against the financing of terrorism through the looting of art.

The suspects, both 31-year-old Spanish nationals, are art experts who bought the pieces -- known in the market as "blood antiquities" -- to sell in their gallery, according to a police statement Wednesday that did not specify where the gallery was located. Police named them only as Mr. O.C.P and Mr. J.B.P.

They were arrested in Barcelona for their "alleged participation in the crimes of financing terrorism, belonging to a criminal organization, trading in stolen goods, smuggling and forging documents."

The statement said that the suspects were part of a Catalonia-based network with international reach dedicated to the retail of artworks from territories controlled by groups affiliated to ISIS.

The two men used foreign intermediaries to acquire the artworks, and concealed the origin of the goods by dispatching them from Asia and different parts of the Middle East, police said.

After searching five locations, including storage facilities and the gallery where some looted pieces were on sale to the public, police recovered artworks including sculptures, mosaics and sarcophagi.

With the help of the Libyan authorities, police verified the authenticity of the pieces and traced their origin to the Apollonia and Cyrene archaeological sites in northern Libya, both of which have been looted by terrorist groups.

Some of the recovered pieces showed imperfections such as bumps and dents that suggested they had been extracted from the ground violently and transported insecurely, police said.

Police believe the suspects carried out restoration work on the artworks in Spain in an attempt to disguise the damage.

Members of ISIS have destroyed or looted a number of ancient cultural treasures in Syria and Iraq, often posting videos of their vandalism online.

In 2015, the FBI asked art collectors and dealers to look out for antiquities that could have been put on the market by ISIS.

The warning came after "credible reports" that some Americans had been offered cultural items that seemed to have been taken from Syria and Iraq, according to a statement at the time from Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, who was then manager of the FBI's Art Theft Program.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 513622

Reported Deaths: 10264
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34892556
DeSoto33234432
Hinds32638641
Jackson24854389
Rankin22507403
Lee16337242
Madison14922283
Jones14113247
Forrest13766259
Lauderdale12270324
Lowndes11305193
Lamar10659140
Pearl River9719244
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Hancock7836132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7210138
Monroe7010179
Pontotoc6990109
Warren6863178
Panola6759134
Neshoba6730210
Marshall6678141
Bolivar6445151
Union638297
Pike5928156
Alcorn5879107
Lincoln5530136
George510180
Prentiss503884
Tippah491482
Itawamba4844107
Scott477899
Adams4768125
Tate4756116
Leflore4729144
Copiah456495
Yazoo456491
Simpson4546117
Wayne443072
Covington433695
Sunflower4299106
Marion4277112
Coahoma4237109
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Tishomingo383593
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Stone365866
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Attala338290
Winston317892
Chickasaw315467
Clay312278
Clarke301195
Calhoun285049
Holmes271889
Smith269052
Yalobusha243947
Tallahatchie231553
Greene224749
Walthall221666
Lawrence218740
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster205348
Noxubee188742
Montgomery181657
Carroll174541
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152939
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134338
Humphreys131239
Franklin125529
Quitman107628
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65221
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845284

Reported Deaths: 16116
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161552006
Mobile742111380
Madison53307732
Shelby38338368
Baldwin38085589
Tuscaloosa36022641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25562263
Calhoun22586518
Morgan22459406
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Houston17731425
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Limestone16148218
Cullman16054303
Elmore15904294
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DeKalb12972269
Walker12030380
Blount10717192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10162194
Coffee9417192
Colbert9342208
Dale9020191
Tallapoosa7256201
Russell708165
Chilton7018170
Escambia6957143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5406130
Dallas5285209
Pike5119109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369580
Butler3435100
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Monroe337266
Randolph334867
Pickens333188
Fayette330385
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317863
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244864
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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