Palestinian antiquities thieves caught stealing pillars from ancient church

The IDF caught two Palestinians red-handed with stolen Byzantine-era pillars from an ancient church.

Israeli authorities arrested two Palestinian thieves who attempted to steal artifacts from a Byzantine-era church in Judea and Samaria, the IDF said Monday.

The suspects were apprehended near the Jewish community of Tekoa with three pillars from a Byzantine church in the back of their work truck. The pillars are inscribed with ancient pseudo-Greek script.

Following the arrests, the IDF Civil Administration’s archaeological unit underscored the need for continued action against the theft of antiquities.

“We will continue in the war on the history of Judea and Samaria with operations against antiquities thieves, who damage archaeological sites,” said Benny Har, deputy head of the Civil Administration’s archaeological unit, The Times of Israel reported.

In May, the Israel Police and the IDF recovered a hoard of Jewish antiquities during a raid on a home in the village of Beit Ula near Hebron. The items included dozens of ancient coins, oil lamps, jewelry and Jewish ritual objects.