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Althalus

Valuable Sumerian Relic Recovered in Iraq

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The Lady of Warka, one the two most precious relics looted from the Iraqi National Museum in the chaos that followed the April 9 fall of Baghdad, has been recovered by U.S. soldiers and Iraqi police, the head of Iraq's Antiquities Department said on Thursday.

The 3,200-year-old artifact, which is a representation of female face, was found buried in an orchard on the outskirts of Baghdad after the Antiquities Department was tipped off by people who had reported seeing it there.

``The Lady of Warka was one of the most important antiquities stolen when looters broke into the Iraqi Museum. Many people in Iraq and in the world will be delighted with its return,'' Jabir Ibrahim, head of the department, said.

Ibrahim said his department received information in mid-August about a group of people trying to sell the Lady of Warka. The negotiations collapsed for unknown reasons, and the relic was subsequently hidden in the orchard, Ibrahim said.

The artifact, from the ancient city of Warka in southern Iraq, was recovered on Sep. 16 in a joint operation conducted by U.S. military police and Iraqi police.

``The relic, known as the Sumerian Mona Lisa, will be handed over to the museum in the coming days'' added Ibrahim.

Guardian.co.uk

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