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    Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement Sarah Saldaña (seated, L) and Iraqi Ambassador to the US Lukman Faily sign documents behind a sculpture of the head of Assyrian King Sargon II during a ceremony to repatriate more than 60 Iraqi artifacts which had been smuggled into the US at the Iraqi consulate in Washington, DC, on March 16, 2015.

    US Returns 65 Smuggled Treasures to Iraq - Homeland Security Department

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    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)
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    More than 60 Iraqi cultural treasures illegally smuggled into the United States were returned to the Republic of Iraq Monday.

    In this image made from video posted on a social media account affiliated with the Islamic State group on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, a militant topples an ancient artifact in the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, Iraq
    © AP Photo / AP Photo via militant social media account
    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States has repatriated more than 60 cultural treasures to Iraq after a thorough investigation by US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into smuggling of Iraqi artefacts, according to a DHS press release published on Monday.

    “More than 60 Iraqi cultural treasures illegally smuggled into the United States were returned to the Republic of Iraq Monday, following five separate investigations led by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI),” the press release read.

    The DHS investigation found out that a Dubai-based antiquities dealer was selling looted Iraqi artifacts to dealers around the world. The HSI identified a broad transnational network that smuggled cultural artefacts directly to galleries in the United States.

    “As part of the investigation, 37 Iraqi bronze objects, 21 clay reliefs and 18 pieces of Iraqi glass were forfeited to the US government to be returned to the people of Iraq,” the press release said.

    The most significant repatriated artefacts include the Head of Assyrian King Sargon II, a limestone fragmentary head of Lamassu and the winged bull from the Palace of Sargon II, according to the DHS.

    “These ancient treasures we are returning do not belong in the hands of any private collection or any one owner. They belong to the people of Iraq where they will be displayed and protected,” US Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Sarah Saldana was quoted as saying in the press release.

    Since 2008, the US Immigration Customs Enforcement agency has returned more than 1,200 cultural items to Iraq in four repatriations, according to the DHS.

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    Violence Erupts as Islamic State Rises (1881)

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