The image of the Banksy door is now the cover photo of the artist's website

The Banksy painting on a bombed-out Gaza doorway was seized Thursday by Palestinian police, Reuters is reporting.

There was an international uproar earlier this year when artist Belal Khaled was accused of swindling the owner out of the door for a pittance.

Khaled paid a mere 700 shekels (175.00 U.S dollars) for the door, which has an image of a goddess holding her head in apparent grief.

The British artist Banksy, whose true identity is not known, spray painted the striking image on the door, one of the only things left standing at Rabea Darduna's house, after last summer's Hama war with Israel saw his neighborhood destroyed.


"We didn't sell it as a work of art, we sold it as a door because we didn't know who Banksy was," Darduna told Reuters.

Paintings by the elusive Banksy have fetched upwards of $500,000, Reuters reports.

Cops showed up at the 23-year-old Khaled's house in Khan Younis, with Darduna in tow, the young artist said.

"The policemen took the door away and they told me it would be held in accordance with a court order because there was a lawsuit against me," Khaled told the wire service. "I am the true owner of the door now, and I will seek to establish this in court."

A lawyer for Darduna, Mohammed Rihan, confirmed that the dispute is in court.

"I will seek to return the door to its true owner, Rabea Darduna. My client was cheated," he said.

Darduna is a Palestinian civil servant.

Reuters reports:

After buying the painting from Darduna, Khaled said last week he had wanted to protect the Banksy mural from neglect and that he had always wanted to own a work by the reclusive artist, who is from Bristol in the west of England and has never revealed his true identity.

Khaled has said he had no plans to sell the doorway "at the present time". A Banksy mural painted on a shop in London in 2013 sold at a private auction for $1.1 million.

Latest From ...