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Swiss seize 9 relics allegedly stolen from Libya, Palmyra

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/2/2016
In this picture released and publicly provided by the Geneva prosecutor a piece of confiscated artifacts is on display in Geneva Switzerland Friday Dec. 2, 2016. Swiss authorities have confiscated artifacts the Geneva prosecutor’s office says were stolen from Yemen, Libya and the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria. ( Geneva Prosecutors Office via AP) © The Associated Press In this picture released and publicly provided by the Geneva prosecutor a piece of confiscated artifacts is on display in Geneva Switzerland Friday Dec. 2, 2016. Swiss authorities have confiscated artifacts the Geneva prosecutor’s office says were stolen from Yemen, Libya and the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria. ( Geneva Prosecutors Office via AP)

GENEVA (AP) — The Geneva prosecutor's office has confiscated nine cultural artifacts including a sculpted head of Aphrodite and two bas-reliefs that were allegedly stolen from Yemen, Libya and the site of ancient Palmyra in Syria.

In this picture released and publicly provided by the Geneva prosecutor a piece of confiscated artifacts is on display in Geneva Switzerland Friday Dec. 2, 2016. Swiss authorities have confiscated artifacts the Geneva prosecutor’s office says were stolen from Yemen, Libya and the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria. ( Geneva Prosecutors Office via AP) © The Associated Press In this picture released and publicly provided by the Geneva prosecutor a piece of confiscated artifacts is on display in Geneva Switzerland Friday Dec. 2, 2016. Swiss authorities have confiscated artifacts the Geneva prosecutor’s office says were stolen from Yemen, Libya and the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria. ( Geneva Prosecutors Office via AP)

The relics had been placed in the Geneva Free Ports, a special duty-free zone for storage, in 2009 and 2010, before the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings and the later emergence of the radical Islamic State group.

In this picture released and publicly provided by the Geneva prosecutor a piece of confiscated artifacts is on display in Geneva Switzerland Friday Dec. 2, 2016. Swiss authorities have confiscated artifacts the Geneva prosecutor’s office says were stolen from Yemen, Libya and the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria. ( Geneva Prosecutors Office via AP) © The Associated Press In this picture released and publicly provided by the Geneva prosecutor a piece of confiscated artifacts is on display in Geneva Switzerland Friday Dec. 2, 2016. Swiss authorities have confiscated artifacts the Geneva prosecutor’s office says were stolen from Yemen, Libya and the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria. ( Geneva Prosecutors Office via AP)

The prosecutor's office said Friday that a customs check in 2013 raised suspicions that the relics had been stolen, prompting a look by cultural experts and later a criminal probe.

It says the Aphrodite head from Libya dates from before the 1st century B.C. and the bas-reliefs were from before the 3rd century in Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site later damaged by IS.

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