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Norwegian diplomatic car 'used for contraband' in Israel

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Norwegian diplomatic car 'used for contraband' in Israel
Ten kilos of ancient coins and statuettes were found in the car. Photo: Israel Tax Authority
08:35 CEST+02:00
Israeli customs officials have found ten kilos of ancient coins and statuettes in a search of a Norwegian diplomatic car at the Allenby Bridge crossing into Jordan, authorities said on Monday.
The Mercedes containing a "top Jordanian diplomat" was inspected with Oslo's permission at the crossing over the Jordan River between the occupied West Bank and Jordan, a statement from Israel's tax authority said.
 
The driver, a Palestinian from Israeli-occupied and annexed east Jerusalem, was arrested and charged with attempting to smuggle antiquities.
 
He was later released, at the tax authority's request, after posting bail.
 
A foreign ministry spokeswoman in Oslo confirmed that a Norwegian diplomatic vehicle had been stopped at the Allenby crossing last Tuesday evening, May 31st.
 
"We consider it very serious that a Norwegian diplomatic vehicle was being used for contraband," Kristin Enstad said, adding that an investigation into the incident had begun.
 
The value of the antiquities seized from the car is not immediately known.
 
Enstad said Israeli customs had information that led them to search the car.
 
She said Oslo gave permission for the search after the Israelis "asked to inspect the vehicle on the basis of concrete information about contraband".
 
The busy Allenby crossing is the only border point between central Israel and Jordan, with which the Jewish state signed a peace treaty in 1994.

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