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The political clashes in Egypt have turned bloodier by the moment, with the latest violence sparked  by the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi in July by the country’s military. In the midst of the turmoil that has divided citizens, looters made off with precious museum artifacts in the biggest heist of its kind in Egypt’s history. reports that over a 1,000 items were stolen from the Malawi Museum in the city of Minya, which is 186 miles outside of Cairo. In the heist, which began last Wednesday (August 14),  thieves stole a limestone statue that was 3,500 years old, several gold and bronze Greco-Roman coins and assorted ancient jewelry. Teens were reportedly burning mummies and other art objects too heavy to carry. The museum’s guard was also killed in the looting.

Archaeologist Monica Hanna, with the help of a security official, managed to save 40 of the artifacts while being assailed with gunshots from snipers. “I told them that this is the property of the Egyptian people and you are destroying it,” said Hanna to RT. “They were apparently upset with me because I am not veiled.”

Surprisingly, head museum Antiquities Ministry chief Ahmed Sharaf said that they will not press charges over the returned stolen goods and even offered a reward to those who bring in the looted objects.

This latest looting mirrors a similar event that took place in Cairo back  in 2011 during the start of the uprising, although over half of the items were returned according to Sharaf.

Photo: Reuters