In this June 30, 2014, file photo, customers walk to a Hobby Lobby store in Oklahoma City.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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About 3,800 artifacts, including Sumerian cuneiform tablets dating to 2100 B.C., that were illegally smuggled to retailer Hobby Lobby Stores Inc will be returned to Iraqi officials in Washington Wednesday.Hobby Lobby, the Oklahoma City-based arts-and-crafts retailer, agreed in July to surrender the antiquities, which made in what is now Iraq about 4,000 years ago, and pay $3 million to settle civil proceedings brought by the U.S. Justice Department.Privately held Hobby Lobby has said the seized artifacts were not intended for the museum.Justice Department officials have said Hobby Lobby's 2010 purchase of $1.6 million in ancient artifacts through dealers in the United Arab Emirates and Israel was "fraught with red flags," saying the company had ignored warnings that the items could have been looted from archaeological sites in Iraq.
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