Officials in New York have returned to Iraqi diplomats dinnerware once belonging to Saddam Hussein and the family of King Faisal II that was looted, then illegally imported to the United States and sold on eBay.
Nineteen dinner and salad plates, some which contained the official seal of Iraq, were being used at the Park Avenue Autumn restaurant as part of an art exhibit. The plates, officials say, were returned to Iraqi representatives at the United Nations on Tuesday.
"After being advised of the illegal status of the Iraqi Plates, Creative Time, the owner of the Iraqi Plates, agreed to voluntarily relinquish them to the custody of the United States Attorney's Office, so they could be returned to their rightful owner, the Republic of Iraq," the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Wednesday.
News of the discovery comes on the same day President Obama marked the end of the war in Iraq with an address to troops at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Wednesday also marks eight years to the day that Saddam Hussein was discovered hiding in a spider hole and captured by U.S. forces.
The items are just a few among a large collection of artifacts that were stolen from Baghdad palaces and museums when U.S. tanks rumbled into the country's capital back in early 2003.