Iranian naval ship travels through the Suez Canal 390 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Egyptian Navy captured a Togo-flagged ship carrying heavy weapons as it
entered Egyptian waters in the Red Sea late on Wednesday, three security sources
told Reuters on Thursday.
The ship spent a week in international waters
before entering Egyptian waters where the ship was escorted into the port of
Safaga, 569 km. southeast of Cairo, according to the sources.
and facts surrounding the seizure remain unclear amid contradicting reports. The
Now Lebanon website reported that the ship was Iranian.
The ship carried
45 tons of weapons including land mines, automatic rifles, and hand grenades,
according to the Aswat Masriya website.
Americans and Britons were among
the crew members, the site said.
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
“The weapons and ammunition seized in the vessel are linked to the
nature of their work and the tasks assigned to them to secure commercial
vessels,” General Staff spokesman Brig.- Gen. Ahmed Mohamed Ali stated on his
Ships often hire private security firms to defend
themselves from Somali pirates.
An AFP report differed from others as it
stated that Egypt seized a ship flying an African flag after it left Eilat,
heading for Togo. The report also stated that 14 crew members were captured
along with arms, and that Egyptian security officials were investigating the
legality of the shipment.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Army denied discussing
redemarcation of the border with Israel with President Mohamed Morsi, according
to the Egypt State Information Service.
This comes after a report on the
Egyptian Independent website on Tuesday that security forces arrested 15
suspected terrorists in Sinai after they marched with assault weapons through
the northern Sinai towns of Rafah and Sheikh Zuwayed.
The report also
quoted military sources as saying that the army will crack down relentlessly
against Sinai terrorists. The military has set up more than 75 checkpoints in
order to catch other Salafi jihadists, according to the Egyptian
website.Yaara Shalom contributed to this report.
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