GAZA, Feb. 16 -- The Hamas authorities in Gaza have kept a Bronze sculpture believed to be a statue of the Greek God " Apollo" in a secret location since a Palestinian fisherman found it last August buried under waters in a central Gaza beach, Hamas officials said Sunday.
The officials, however, expressed hope that the ancient statue, which had been transferred to the Interior Ministry, would help end the seven-year international embargo imposed on the Islamic movement, which rules the coastal enclave.
Mohamed Khellah, a top official in the Hamas-run Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, told Xinhua, "We are keeping the door open for cooperation with any government," adding that the Ministry of Interior is looking into the matter. "I hope we will be able to strike a deal with a European country (willing) to restore and display the bronze statue."
Israel have imposed an embargo on the Islamic movement, which won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections and violently seized control of the Palestinian coastal enclave of Gaza in 2007.
In late August, a Palestinian fisherman from the central Gaza Strip town of Deir El-Ballah stumbled upon the bronze statue which was half-buried under the water.
"I found the statue while I was diving and searching for fish last August, I was scared and I thought it was a body of a dead man, but when I touched it I knew that it is a statue," said Judda Ghorab, 26, who managed with six other fishermen to pull it out to the seaside.
"After the discovery of the statue was unveiled by the neighbors, the police came and took the statue and handed it to the interior ministry," said the fisherman.
Meanwhile, Reem Ketana, a Palestinian specialist in archeology and antiquity, told Xinhua that as long as there is an internal Palestinian division, the Apollo statue would "not be able to see the light of day."
"The two governments in Gaza and in the West Bank should coordinate together and bring the statue out of Gaza and send it to international museums that belong to UNESCO," Ketana told Xinhua.