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Jewish artifacts found by U.S. troops in Iraq on display for first time

Published: Updated:

Iraqi Jewish artifacts discovered during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 are on display Washington DC for the first time.

The exhibit shows 24 items, just a small sample of thousands of artifacts found by U.S. forces in the flooded basement of the Iraqi intelligence headquarters after overthrowing former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, according to New York-based news agency JTA.

The items were shipped to the National Archives and were restored by experts.

Several Jewish groups and lawmakers in the United States protested against plans to return the artifacts to Iraq - which has an almost non-existent Jewish community – and keep the items under the watch of expatriate Iraqi Jewish communities.

Discussing the future of the historical items, U.S. State Department Director of Iraq Affairs, Anthony Godfrey, said that the artifacts would not be returned.

“The theft and expatriation of all of Iraq’s patrimony was happening and the commitment to the Iraq government at that time was in order to demonstrate that this was not that kind of event,” Godfrey said.