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ARCHAEOLOGY >Leather Torah captured after thrilling police operation

ISTANBUL

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Police carefully planned and carried out a special operation Dec. 25 to capture a 1,900-year-old Torah from alleged smugglers before it was sold in the Mediterranean province of Adana.

Police apprehended four people in Adana who were attempting to sell an incredibly old leather Torah. Four suspects were released by a local court pending trial and the leather Torah was sent to Ankara for analysis following the operation.

After receiving information regarding the entrance of an artifact to Adana through illegal means from Syria amid the nation’s civil war, police discovered through additional research that an attempt would be made to sell a 2-millennia-old leather Torah for $30 million.

A geography teacher, T.N., searched for a buyer for the 8.78 meter-long and 44 centimeters-wide leather Torah by describing it as the "only original text of the Torah in the world."

Police infiltrated the hotel to catch the alleged smugglers in the act disguised in the uniforms of waiters and valets after learning the location of the sale.

When T.N. entered to the hotel, he was arrested by a police officer in a waiter’s uniform in silence.

Suspects, Ş.C, Y.Ş. and S.C.D were also arrested while waiting in front of the hotel.

The leather Torah was found during a search of the suspects' car.

"We bought it from an antique store and brought it to a geography teacher to ask what was written on it," one of the suspects told police.

"One of my friends called me to meet and he asked me to analyze a leather scripture they had", T.N. has said in defense of himself.

The historical Torah is believed to have been taken first to Palestine and then later to Syria.

There are suggestions that the Torah may have been taken to Turkey by Syrian refugees.

January/13/2013

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