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Report: U.S. stopped Israeli attack on weapons ship

JTA

November 6, 2009 | 1:35 pm

The United States vetoed an Israeli plan to attack a ship bearing weapons allegedly from Iran to Hezbollah, according to a report in an Arabic-language newspaper.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported Friday that Israeli sources said Israel wanted to attack the ship this week but the United States had insisted it not to do. Instead, the Israeli navy captured and boarded the vessel early Wednesday off the coast of Cyprus and brought it to the port of Ashdod, where 500 tons of weapons were taken off the ship.

Ha’aretz reported that the ship’s cargo of arms first traveled on an Iranian ship, but was unloaded in Egypt and put on the Francop, a German-owned ship run by a Cyprus company. The crew of that ship apparently had no knowledge that the cargo it received was weapons, including ammunition, artillery shells, rockets and hand grenades. The Israeli navy estimates that it included 300 tons of weapons and more than 3,000 rockets.

Israel believes the cargo was headed for Hezbollah; Hezbollah has denied any connection to the ship.

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