Shipped from Iran, but arms came from all over the world

Shipped from Iran, but a

By
November 5, 2009 05:11
2 minute read.
francop missile ship 248 88

francop missile ship 248 88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi )

One crate had "Parts of Bulldozer" written on its side. When it was opened though, the Navy did not see a track or a blade but a five-meter long 122 mm. Katyusha rocket. The weaponry that was discovered aboard the Francop cargo vessel on its way from Iran to Syria and then to Hizbullah was of a wide variety and mix, including fragmentation grenades, artillery and tank shells, Kalashnikov bullets, and mortars. The crates with the weapons came with writing in different languages, including Chinese, Russian, Spanish and of course English. An initial review of the cache appeared to indicate, senior IDF officers said, that the weaponry originated possibly in different countries before it was purchased by Iran. By Wednesday afternoon, representatives from Military Intelligence's Technological Division had assembled at the Ashdod Port to begin sifting through the weaponry together with soldiers from the Engineering Corps elite unit Yahalom - who are experts in handling explosives - to try and determine the exact origin and make. The officers also raised the possibility that the weaponry was mostly manufactured in Iran but came in boxes with different languages since Iran also sells armaments to other countries. The 122 mm. Katyusha rockets appeared to have been manufactured in Russia since they were covered in Russian writing. Some of the Kalashnikov bullets likely came from China. Others were in boxes from the "Ministry of Sepah," which is the main body in charge of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The weaponry was hidden inside containers behind piles of sacks - each weighing 25 kilograms - filled with polyethylene and made by the Amir Kabir National Petrochemical Company based in Teheran. The sacks even had a phone number written on them. IDF sources said that they were not ruling out the possibility that some of the mortar shells were manufactured in Israel and painted to make them look new. Israel's Soltam Company sold thousands of mortar shells to Iran during the regime of the Shah in the 1970s and some of them are believed to have been already transferred to Hizbullah in the past. The Spanish crates were carrying 106 mm. shells and each had the words "2 Disparos" written on them, meaning two shots, for the number of rockets inside. The 107 mm. rockets were in crates claiming that they were manufactured in 2007. There were even instruction manuals inside in English explaining how to handle the rocket, carry it and even place it inside a launcher. Other weapons on the ship included F1 fragmentation grenades, 20 per box. Several countries, including Iran, are known to manufacture the grenade.


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