'Israel not connected to arms ship seized by Egypt'

Foreign Ministry spokesman says ship did not leave from Eilat or any other Israeli port as claimed by Egyptian officials.

April 5, 2013 12:54
Iran navy ship travels through Suez Canal [file]

Iranian naval ship travels through the Suez Canal 390 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

Israel has denied on Friday that the arms ship seized by Egypt on Wednesday night left from the Eilat port, or had any connection to Israel, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP.

"Nobody in Israel knows anything about this ship. It's clear that it did not come from Eilat or any other Israeli port," Palmor said.

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The ship carried 45 tons of weapons including land mines, automatic rifles, and hand grenades, according to the Aswat Masriya website.

Egyptian officials said the ship had set off from the Eilat port in the Red Sea and was heading to Togo in West Africa.

However, the origin and facts surrounding the seizure remain unclear amid contradicting reports. The Now Lebanon website reported that the ship was Iranian.

According to the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, Egypt arrested 14 crew members and a second ship with four people on board. Both vessels are owned by a Ukrainian security firm.

Ariel Ben Solomon contributed to this report.

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