Norway Launches Probe After Envoy’s Driver Caught Smuggling Artifacts

AFP Photo/Israel Antiquities Authority

The Times of Israel reports: Norway on Monday said it is holding an internal investigation into claims that an East Jerusalem driver for its envoy to the Palestinian Authority was arrested last week by Israel for allegedly attempting to smuggle antiquities into the West Bank from Jordan.

The Norwegian Embassy in Israel told The Times of Israel on Monday that the Foreign Ministry asked the embassy for permission to search the diplomatic car as the driver arrived at the Allenby Bridge crossing on May 31, after Israel had received “concrete information” that there was contraband aboard.

(An earlier report incorrectly stated, based on a statement by a Tax Authority official, that the car was driving from the West Bank into Jordan. The Norwegian Embassy clarified that the Mercedes was en route to Jerusalem.)

Customs officials found 10 kilograms of ancient coins, statuettes, beads and other artifacts stowed in cardboard containers inside the car’s paneling, an Israel Tax Authority spokesperson said.

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