(AGI) Baghdad, Feb 28 - The national museum in Baghdadofficially reopened on Saturday, 12 years after it was lootedduring the U.S.-led invasion and deprived of almost 15,000Mesopotamian artefacts, of which only some 4,300 have beenrecovered and restored. The reopening was brought forward by afew months by the Iraqi government in response to thedestruction of numerous statues in Mosul's central museum byIslamic State (IS) militants. "The events in Mosul led us tospeed up our work and we wanted to open it today as a responseto what the gangs of Daesh did," said Iraq's deputy minister oftourism and antiquities, Qais Hussein Rashid, using an Arabicacronym for the extremist group. "Today the message is clearfrom Baghdad, from the land of Mesopotamia," Iraqi PrimeMinister Haider al-Abadi stated after cutting the red ribbon atthe official ceremony. "We will preserve civilisation and wewill track down those who want to destroy it." The search forthe museum's missing items, which began in 2003, is ongoing."We are still tracking down more than 10,000 artefacts inmarkets and auctions. What we got back were the mostimportant," minister Rashid said. "This is a very happy day,"he added. Tickets for the museum will cost 1,500 dinars - lessthan a euro - for Iraqis, 10 U.S. dollars for foreign Arabs,and 20 for other foreigners. . .