US soldiers in the Gulf of Suez raided a freighter that was apparently shipping arms from Iran to Syria or Hizbullah in early October, German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported on its Web site on Monday.
According to the report, seven containers full of 7.62 millimeter bullets for Kalashnikov rifles and an eighth container full of cartridges suitable for the manufacture of additional rounds were found on the freighter, Hansa India.
Hamburg-based shipping company Leonhardt & Blumberg, under which Hansa India is registered, told the German magazine that the 243-meter-long ship has for years been under charter to the state-owned shipping company Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
According to Der Spiegel, after the German government intervened in the matter, the Americans permitted the ship to dock in Malta, where the containers holding the ammunition were secured.
In September, Russian prosecutors denied finding any suspicious materials on a ship that, according to media reports, was carrying the advanced S-300 missile defense system for Iran.
The Arctic Sea ship was allegedly hijacked in the Baltic Sea in late July after leaving a Finnish port. Russian navy vessels intercepted the ship weeks later off Cape Verde, thousands of kilometers from the Algerian port where it was purportedly supposed to deliver a load of timber.
A Russian shipping expert and an EU anti-piracy official have speculated that the vessel was carrying a clandestine cargo, possibly S-300 surface-to-air missiles destined for Iran or Syria. Russia has vehemently denied this.