Burglars steal 350 pieces of jewelry from Lebanon's presidential palace

Burglars have stolen about 350 pieces of priceless jewelry, some dating back to the Roman era, from Lebanon's historical Beiteddine Palace, a security official said Wednesday. The robbery at Beiteddine, which is the summer home of Lebanon's president, occurred sometime between midnight Sunday and Tuesday morning. The official said the burglars broke in through a ground floor window of the palace's museum.

They took some 350 pieces of jewelry, including gold bracelets and earrings, said the official, who did not give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the press. Police have closed the palace for the investigation. On Wednesday journalists were not allowed to enter Beiteddine, which stands 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of Beirut.

Built in the early 19th century, Beiteddine is known for its terraces, courtyards and landscaped gardens. Its museum is a major tourist attraction as it contains a large collection of Phoenician works of art, weapons from the Middle Ages, traditional costumes and jewelry.

The annual Beiteddine Festival has hosted artists such as the Spanish tenor Jose Carreras, the rock star Elton John and Lebanese diva Fairouz, reports the AP. I.L.

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