Police patrolling Cairo's Citadel area discovered thieves trying to escape from the Al-Refaai mosque with boxes containing four large Islamic lamps.
Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim announced that officers from the Tourism and Antiquities police had caught the thieves red handed as they attempted to leave the mosque through the backyard.
The Al-Refaai mosque is located in the square adjacent to the Salaheddin citadel.
The mosque was constructed in two phases between 1869 and 1912. It was originally commissioned by Lady Khushiar Hanim, mother of the 19th century Khedive Ismail, to extend and replace the pre-existing mediaeval zawiya (small mosque) of Ahmed Al-Refaai. She founded the mosque in 1869, but construction was stopped in 1880. Construction resumed in 1905 and the mosque was finished in 1911.
Egypt security forces said it stopped an antique lamps robbery at the al-Refai mosque in the historic area of the Citadel on Thursday morning.
Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim said security personal noticed three men carrying heavy bags and trying to flee the area and they stopped them.
They found several antique lamps from inside the mosque that the thieves unscrewed in their attempt to steal them and sell them for large amounts of money.
Security chased the thieves, forcing them to leave the lamps behind.