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French return precious Egyptian frescoes, Brits next on ‘hit list’

France has given Egypt five frescoed fragments once held by the Louvre in Paris, after the Egyptians demanded the return of the steles from the era of the Pharaohs and broke off ties with the famous French museum. The fragments are believed to be from a 3,200-year-old tomb in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor. Each fresco is only 15cm wide and 30cm tall, and French officials have said the Louvre acquired them in good faith. The French action will have given confidence to the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, who intends to now ask the British Museum to return the Rosetta Stone. This ancient stone was the key to deciphering hieroglyphics on the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, and is one of six precious relics the Egyptians want to repossess from museums worldwide. The British Museum has hundreds of thousands of Egyptian artefacts, essentially stolen during colonial times. But the Egyptians are only seeking what they call an icon of Egyptian identity. The Rosetta Stone dates back to 196 BC. It fell into British hands after Napoleon's defeat at the famous antiquarian city of Alexandria. Read more: BBC, Reuters

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