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Led by Cypriot and Spanish police, the Operation Pandora swoop arrested 75 people in total and police were able to retrieve artefacts “of great cultural importance” including a marble Ottoman tombstone, a post-Byzantine icon depicting Saint George, and two Byzantine artefacts that had been seized in Greece.

In Spain 500 archaeological objects were found in Murcia, of which 19 were stolen in 2014 from the Archaeological Museum in Murcia.

The operation also located more than 400 coins from different periods which were seized following investigations into suspicious online advertisements.

Agencies involved in the huge operation included Europol, police authorities from 18 countries, INTERPOL, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the World Customs Organization (WCO).