Norwegian Embassy Driver Busted With 10 Kilos Of Antiquities

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The Times of Israel reports: A driver for the Norwegian Embassy in Israel was arrested last week at the Allenby Crossing to Jordan on suspicion of attempting to smuggle out 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of ancient coins and statuettes, the Tax Authority said in a statement on Monday.

The man, Issa Najam of the Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem, arrived at the crossing with Jordan on May 31 in an official diplomatic vehicle with a senior Norwegian diplomat. Customs officials searched the vehicle and found the presumed antiquities hidden in the car’s paneling. Najam was arrested and charged with attempted antiquities smuggling.

A Tax Authority spokesman said it was not protocol to search diplomatic vehicles at the crossing but refused to comment on why the search was performed, due to the ongoing investigation into the incident.

The spokesman said it was exceedingly rare for customs officials to find antiquities being smuggled out of Israel at the Allenby Crossing.

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