WEIS Radio | Local and regional news, sports and weather »A man trying to demolish an ancient sphinx in Cairo is arrested
(CAIRO) – A man trying to demolish one of the four ancient sphinxes adorning Tahrir Square in Cairo has been caught by security personnel, an eyewitness reports.
“My friends and I were in Tahrir when we saw someone climbing the head of one of the sphinxes. He was wielding a big hammer and shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ before he started hitting him, “Abdallah Elbarawy, a 22-year-old law student at Cairo University, told ABC News.
“He was then captured by security guards, who took him away,” Elbarawy said.
Local media said the man, who has not been identified, was being questioned.
A source from the Department of Antiquities told ABC News that none of the sphinxes were damaged.
Last year, Egypt moved the four ram-headed sphinxes to Tahrir, in the heart of Cairo, from the southern city of Luxor – a move criticized at the time by many archaeologists, who feared the artifacts could be damaged due to their exposure to air pollution and heat in the congested place.
The sphinxes were previously located in a courtyard behind the first pylon of the famous Karnak Temple in Luxor.
After being transferred to Tahrir, the sphinxes were kept in wooden crates before being unveiled last April, shortly before Egypt held a procession for 22 royal mummies from the iconic square. They lie under a 90-ton obelisk that dates back to the time of the famous pharaoh Ramses II of the New Kingdom.
Egypt has announced that it will soon reopen the Grand Avenue of the Sphinxes, a 3,000-year-old road that connects the Temple of Karnak to the Temple of Luxor, to the public, after completing the excavation and restoration work of the old way.
The avenue is flanked by hundreds of ram-headed sphinxes, similar to those that were moved to Tahrir.
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