Egypt repatriates smuggled ancient artifact from UK

This undated photo released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, shows a illegally smuggled, artifact repatriated from the United Kingdom. Tuesday’s statement said the newly recovered relief with cartouche of King Amonhotep I from the 18th dynasty, was on display at a London auction house. It said the relief was originally exhibited at the open museum of the ancient temple of Karnak in the city of Luxor. It didn’t say how the artifact was smuggled out of the country. (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities via AP)

CAIRO — Egypt's Antiquities Ministry says it has repatriated an illegally smuggled artifact from the United Kingdom.

Tuesday's statement says the newly recovered relief with cartouche of King Amenhotep I from the 18th dynasty had been on display at a London auction house.

It says the relief was originally exhibited at the open museum of the ancient temple of Karnak in the city of Luxor. It didn't say how the artifact was smuggled out of the country.

The statement says the Egyptian Embassy in London received the artifact in September.

Egypt has drastically stepped up efforts in recent years to stop the trafficking of its antiquities. It has warned foreign museums that it will not help them mount exhibits on ancient Egyptian sites unless they return smuggled artifacts.

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