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No trace found for thousands of manuscripts U.S. troops discovered in 2003

by azzaman.com Monday, Nov. 26, 2007 at 6:58 PM

...there were about 50,000 manuscripts in the national library which were all moved to the cellar. The collection, he added, was “the largest and the most valuable in the whole Middle East.”

By Mohammed Dhaher

Azzaman, November 19, 2007

Thousands of manuscripts have disappeared among them priceless copies of the Holy Koran, an Iraqi librarian said.

The librarian, who wanted his name kept secret, said the manuscripts were “expropriated” by a U.S.-led force shortly after the 2003 invasion of Baghdad.

The former government had moved the manuscripts from the national library shelves to a cellar close to the Umm al-Teboul mosque in Baghdad for fear of damage or theft.

The librarian said the troops removed the manuscripts from the cellar but there is no trace of them.

He said there were about 50,000 manuscripts in the national library which were all moved to the cellar. The collection, he added, was “the largest and the most valuable in the whole Middle East.”

Of the most valuable manuscripts that have gone missing is a copy of the Holy Koran hand-written by Imam Ali only a few years after the death of the Prophet Mohammed.

“There was a Koran written on snake skin. The miniature copy was no more than a few centimeters wide,” said the librarian.

Eyewitnesses say they still remember the troops carrying the manuscripts from the cellar onto vehicles.

U.S. troops say they have no knowledge of the manuscripts and their spokesman, Abdullatif Rayan, denied that U.S. troops had entered the cellar where the books were kept.

Most of these manuscripts were at least 1,000 years old, added the librarian.

http://www.azzaman.com/english/index.asp?fname=news2007-11-9kurd9.htm

More here:

Iraqi archivist demands US return seized documents

wsws.org

17 November 2007

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/nov2007/libr-n17.shtml

http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=16118

Iraq’s libraries: what recovery from “a national disaster beyond imagination”?

17 September 2005

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/sep2005/libs-s17.shtml

Iraq asks Britain to return hundreds of missing artifacts Azzaman

November 8, 2007

http://www.azzaman.com/english/index.asp?fname=news2007-11-8kurd.htm

http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=16105

Gunmen loot 3,500-old Sumerian site

Azzaman, November 13, 2007

http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=16111



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