Van Gogh painting stolen from Egyptian museum

Brazen daylight robber cut the painting Poppy Flowers from its frame at the Mahmoud Khalil Museum.

CAIRO // A priceless Vincent Van Gogh painting has been stolen from a Cairo museum in a brazen daytime theft, Culture Minister Faruq Hosni told AFP on Saturday. The painting, identified as "Poppy Flowers" by Hosni, "was cut out of its frame in the Mahmoud Khalil museum after it opened in the morning," he said. He said employees of the museum, which also houses works by Monet, were being questioned and that measures were being taken at Egyptian airports and ports to prevent the stolen painting being smuggled abroad. Police officials, who valued the painting at about 50 million dollars (more than 39 million euros), said they were reviewing security camera footage and dusting the crime scene for fingerprints. A government website said the painting had been stolen before and recovered. The Mahmoud Khalil museum, in Cairo's middle and upper-class district of Dokki, was once the palace of a 1930s parliamentarian of the same name who amassed a large and priceless collection of artworks. The Egyptian State Information Service website said the museum's contents are valued at about seven billion dollars. * Agence France-Presse