(JNS.org) An extremely rare and incredibly intact statue of the Greek god Apollo, possibly worth tens of millions of dollars, has mysteriously resurfaced in Gaza only to be seized by Hamas, the Islamic terror group that controls the coastal enclave.
The statue was claimed to be found by a Gaza fisherman named Jouda Ghurab last August. Ghurab says that it took six men to lift the statue out of the water and that he used a donkey cart to transport it back to his home. Eventually, news of the rare find spread and caught the attention of Hamas.
Since then, the statue’s story has gotten more mysterious, as Hamas authorities have taken the statue to investigate it. It even appeared briefly on Ebay with a $500,000 price tag.
“Our investigations are still going on,” Muhammad Ismael Khillah, assistant undersecretary at the Gaza Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, told Bloomberg Businessweek.
According to archeologists, the statue looks like it was made between the 5th and 1st century BCE, making it more than 2,000 years old.
Adding to the mystery, based on the photographs, foreign archeologists are disputing the claim that it was found underwater, saying it would have extensive water damage or been encrusted with marine life if it had been in the sea for centuries.
“It’s unique. In some ways I would say it is priceless. It’s like people asking what is the [value] of the painting La Gioconda [the Mona Lisa] in the Louvre museum,” Jean-Michel de Tarragon, a historian with the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem, told Reuters.