Giant bronze statue to French WWI soldiers stolen

PARIS (AP) — A more than one-ton memorial to soldiers killed in World War I has been stolen from its pedestal in a French town.

Veterans Minister Kader Arif said in a statement Wednesday that the theft of the monument in the northern town of Craonne in the Aisne region is an “insult to war victims and to France.”

The theft comes as France marks the centenary of the Great War.

The local web site described the modernistic bronze monument as being 4 meters (13.12 feet) tall and weighing 1.6 tons. It said police were alerted to its disappearance Tuesday night.

The monument was poised on a strategic plateau, Chemin des Dames, where France suffered a defeat by Germany.

The work of sculptor Haim Kern was inaugurated in 1998.

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