January 01, 2007

Tomb-raiding tradition thriving in West Bank

At least two nights a week, Abu Moussa and a small group of men head into the Judean hills to practice the trade passed down from his father and grandfather before him - raiding ancient tombs for treasures. The ancient treasures buried in the biblical landscape have become a major source of income for many residents of the West Bank. Abu Moussa and his men roam the mountains and valleys around Wadi Haritun (Wadi Tekoa), which winds from the first-century palace of Herodion through the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea. The barren landscape is perforated with thousands of caves, many of them used as burial tombs dating to the Canaanite period about 3,000 years ago.