WASHINGTON, Nov. 11(Xinhuanet)-- Over two years after Iraq's National Museum was sacked by looters following the US invasion, up to 10,000 Iraqi antiquities are still unrecovered, a US official said here Friday.
Col. Matthew Bogdanos, the US investigator leading the search for looted Iraqi antiquities, said among the 10,000 to 15,000 items that went missing from the National Museum in Baghdad, over 5,000 have been recovered.
The museum, once boasting of largest collections of antiquitiesin the Middle East, suffered from looting and serious damage by thousands of looters in a state of chaos after the US troops took Baghdad in April, 2003.
Bogdanos said with the cooperation of police, academics and customs from six countries, more than 5,000 items have so far beenrecovered, including some 2,000 found by the Jordanians.
To recover all the rest lost items, more help is needed from Iraq's neighbors, particularly Iran and Turkey, he said.
Bogdanos said his investigation found that three kinds of looters participated in the pilfering.
One group includes professionals who took some of the greatest rarities, such as the first known realistic sculpture of a human face.
Secondly, there are thieves who swept up many pieces, includingcopies and forgeries, into bags.
Finally, there are insiders who took valuable ancient seals andjewelry.
The past over two years have seen many of Iraq's antiquities stolen or looted and many of its historical sites destroyed in theongoing conflicts, and some international archeologists have blamed the US military for its negligence in protecting the country's historical heritage. Enditem