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Page last updated at 21:31 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 22:31 UK

Iraqi artefacts return to Baghdad

US soldiers outside the Iraqi Museum in Baghdad, 11 November 2003
The items were looted from Baghdad's museum during the 2003 invasion

The Iraqi antiquities department has taken delivery of 11 ancient ceremonial seals that were looted after the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.

Originally from the national museum, the artefacts, some of which date from 3,000BC, were seized by US customs officials in the city of Philadelphia.

The circumstances of their discovery have not been made public.

Iraq has previously blamed the looting of thousands of artefacts on organised smugglers and occupying foreign troops.

The country has been carrying out a worldwide campaign to get the objects back.

In April, 700 stolen pieces - including gold coins and jewellery - were seized by customs officials in Syria and returned to Iraq.

Officials say a further 1,600 items are awaiting return from Jordan.

The 11 seals returned on Monday are made from agate and alabaster, and important figures would have used them to affix their personal stamps to documents.


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