Nine paintings stolen from Egyptian museum

Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:49am EDT
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CAIRO (Reuters) - Nine paintings of a 19th century ruler of Egypt and his family were stolen from a museum palace near Cairo, Egypt's culture ministry said.

The paintings were removed from their frames and taken from the former palace of Mohamed Ali, considered the founder of modern Egypt, in the northern Cairo suburb of Shobra el-Kheima Tuesday, the ministry said.

Mohamed Ali, who ruled Egypt from 1805 to 1848, pushed through agricultural and economic reforms and established a dynasty that ruled Egypt until a revolution in 1952.

The Culture Ministry said police were investigating the theft but had not yet made any arrests.

Egyptian artifacts are often stolen and smuggled abroad. Since 2002, Egypt has succeeded in bringing home around 5,000 stolen or smuggled artifacts.

(Writing by Randa El Tahawy; Editing by Dominic Evans)