Under the dark cover of night, a team of clandestine agents smuggled contraband on mule carts past the heavily armed militants who policed the ancient streets of Timbuktu...

But this undertaking was a little less "Ocean's Eleven," a little more "Indiana Jones" with an Islamic bent — because the traffickers were librarians, and their black market swag was a vast collection of hundreds of thousands of historical manuscripts dating as far back as the 11th century.

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