Police have arrested two curators of a new Cairo museum for allegedly stealing ancient artefacts and replacing them with replicas, the antiquities ministry said on Wednesday.
Looting of the country's cultural heritage has increased since the popular uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and during the years of political turmoil that followed.
The huge National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation was created in collaboration with UNESCO and has yet to open to the public.
"Two curators were arrested while replacing a pharaonic statue of (fourth dynasty) King Menkaure, discovered in Luxor's Karnak temple, and an ancient Islamic lantern with fake ones," Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damati said in a statement.
The arrests came following a police investigation into ancient Islamic artefacts being stolen from the museum's storage area and later being put up for auction in London.
A ministry committee will make an inventory of the "priceless" collection that includes artefacts from prehistoric times to the present day, the statement added.