Israeli antiquities officials accuse 6 Palestinians of seeking to loot Dead Sea Scrolls

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Israel's Antiquities Authority says it has caught six Palestinians digging illegally for antiquities in a remote desert region where archaeologists believe undiscovered Dead Sea Scrolls are buried.

Antiquities inspector Uzi Rotstein said the arrest comes after a yearlong operation to stop looting in the Judean Desert, thought to be the source of scroll fragments which have recently trickled onto the local antiquities market.

The Antiquities Authority says the suspects were caught in late November looting a previously excavated cave and stealing a 2,000-year-old hair comb. The Authority accuses them of digging for Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are the world's oldest biblical manuscripts. Their discovery in 1947 was one of the 20th century's greatest archaeological finds.

The Antiquities Authority says the suspects were indicted in court Sunday.