Israeli occupation forces stole artefacts from the town of Sebastia, north-west of Nablus, after Palestinians discovered ancient burials, the Wafa news agency reported.
The Mayor of Sebastia, Mohammad Azem, told Wafa that Israeli soldiers stole the artefacts after surrounding the archaeological site in the village and interrogating staff from the municipality and the Ministry of Tourism for hours.
The occupation forces detained the staff while they were working at the archaeological site after they were informed of the discovery by Palestinian construction workers who were in the middle of building a new road.
However, less than an hour after the Palestinian staff from the Ministry of Tourism began the archaeological excavations, the Israeli occupation authorities sent military troops to the site, accompanied by Israel Antiquities Authority workers and took over the area.
According to Azem, the Israel Antiquities Authority began working on the ancient cemeteries immediately upon arrival to tamper with the archaeological site and ordered all Palestinian staff and authorities to leave.
Sebastia is a small historic town located on a hill 11 kilometres to the north-west of Nablus, 3,000 Palestinians inhabit the area. The area has been identified as the capital of the northern kingdom during the Iron Age II in Palestine and a major urban centre during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, according to UNESCO.
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