Posted: 02 Feb 2011 06:12 AM PST
I would like the people of the world to know that today all of the Egyptian monuments are safe. All the archaeological sites in Aswan, such as the Temple of Philae, the Unfinished Obelisk, the Island of Kalabsha, the Tombs of the Nomarchs, and Elephantine Island are completely safe. The temples of Edfu and Kom Ombo are also safe. All of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Tombs of the Nobles, and the temples of Luxor and Karnak are safe. The temples of Dendera, Abydos, the sites in Akhmim, and all sites in Middle Egypt, such as Tuna el-Gebel, Amarna, and Beni Hasan, are safe. All sites in Alexandria are safe. All the mosques, synagogues, and monasteries are safe; nothing has happened to any of them.
The sites of Giza and Saqqara are also safe. Outlaws only broke the padlocks that secure the tombs of Saqqara, and when we went inside to check them we were happy to see that no damage had been done. The most serious offence that occurred was the looting of the storage magazine in Qantara, in the Sinai. On Friday night a group armed with guns entered the magazine and stole some antiquities that were stored in boxes. Yesterday, 288 of these objects were returned. We do not know the full extent of the damage done to this magazine, but we will soon.
All of the museums in Egypt, 24 in total, are safe and unharmed; only the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, was broken into. When I went to the museum on Saturday morning I found out that 70 objects had been broken, but nothing had been stolen. All 70 objects can be restored, and can be safely put back in place.
I would like to tell the world that the situation in Egypt was bad for two days, beginning on Friday. However, all the archaeological sites in the country were protected by Egyptian people of all ages; I am especially proud of the young Egyptians who formed a line around the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, to protect it from outlaws and further break-ins. I would like UNESCO and people around the world not to worry because the sites of Egypt are safe.
Dr. Zahi Hawass, 2 feb 2011