Banksy artwork showing drones on a STOP sign stolen in London

LONDON (Reuters) – The latest artwork by British street artist Banksy showing three drones plastered across a “STOP” traffic sign in south London was removed by an unidentified man shortly after it was unveiled by its creator on Friday.

Pictures and videos posted online showed the man, with assistance from another person, using pliers to break the sign off its post and run off with it as passersby looked on.

Banksy posted a picture of the artwork on his website as well as on Instagram, where he has more than 12 million followers. It was not clear if its removal was part of the stunt.

The red STOP sign had grey drone-like aircraft flying diagonally across it.

Banksy usually provides confirmation of his work on social media, but gives few other details. The new artwork was revealed at a time of heated discourse over the Israel-Palestine conflict, with world leaders divided over a decision to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

A U.N. Security Council vote on a bid to boost aid deliveries to Gaza is due later on Friday, after repeated delays by the U.S., which has twice vetoed Security Council action since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The U.S. and Israel have opposed a ceasefire, believing it would only benefit Hamas. Washington instead supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and free hostages taken by Hamas.

(Reporting by Muvija M. Editing by Jane Merriman)