Two Italian nationals have been arrested at Cairo airport while trying to smuggle out a Vincent Van Gogh painting stolen from a museum hours earlier, Press TV reported.
"Two Italians, a man and a woman, were arrested while trying to leave the country with the painting," AFP quoted Egyptian Culture Minister Faruq Hosni as saying on Saturday.
The painting, which has an estimated value of $50 million, was cut out of its frame and stolen earlier in the day from the Mahmoud Khalil museum in the posh district of Dokki in the Egyptian capital. The museum also has works by Monet, Renoir, and Degas on display.
Airport security did not comment on the news reports, but a Cairo police official, who did confirm the arrests, stopped short of confirming whether the Italians had the painting in their possession.
It was the second time the "Poppy Flowers" (also called "Vase with Flowers") has been stolen from the same museum. Thieves escaped with the painting in 1978. It was restored to the Mahmoud Khalil museum after authorities recovered it two years later at an undisclosed location in Kuwait.
In the 1930s, the museum was the residence of lawmaker Mahmoud Khalil, who amassed a priceless collection of art worth an estimated seven billion dollars.