The Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities on Sunday protested strongly at the recent appearance in Israel of a missing Iraqi manuscript of Torah.
In a statement, carried by local media, the Ministry denounced Israel's illegal possession of the Hebrew scroll and urged the US to help retrieve it from Israel.
The US mission in Iraq took the manuscript from Iraq several years ago under the pretext of renovating it at the National Archives and Records Administration, the statement said, urging NARA to provide clear answers to this question.
"We strongly protest against Israeli illegal holding of part of our heritage and call on the NARA which renovates Iraq's Hebrew archive to clarify the destiny of the manuscript," the statement stressed.
The rehabilitation of Iraq's Hebrew archive was scheduled to complete in 2005, it said, noting that the ministry urged NARA repeatedly to restore all items of the archive and end this file.
It added that it called on the relevant international organizations, notably the UNESCO and the Interpol, to help Iraq retrieve this important document and other stolen relicts as part of the support of the civilized world to Iraq.
On Thursday, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that the Iraqi manuscript of Torah has arrived from Kurdistan across Baghdad and Amman and "will be used by the Torah Authority in Jerusalem for daily prayer." In a press statement, quoted by the Times of Israel and the Iraqi News newspapers, the ministry said: "The manuscript restoration process took seven months, and then it was brought to the headquarters of the Israeli Foreign Ministry where Israeli diplomats have been serving for years." The Israeli Foreign Ministry added: "The ceremony of declaration of the Torah manuscript arrival to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was attended by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and a number of members of the Kurdish Jewish community and the ministry staff." Lieberman considered the manuscript alleged trip from Kurdistan to Baghdad and Amman and then to Jerusalem "a reminder of Jewish nation's destiny."