Lebanon intercepts Syria-bound smuggling ship

Authorities in Beirut say they discovered rocket-propelled grenades, rifles in ship that was sailing from Libya via Egypt.

April 28, 2012 11:38
1 minute read.
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[illustrative photo] Ship at sea 311 (R). (photo credit: Andreas Manolis / Reuters)

BEIRUT - Lebanese authorities have found weapons on board a ship intercepted in the Mediterranean which may have been trying to supply Syrian rebels, security sources said on Saturday.

They said the ship, the Lutfallah II, was on its way to Lebanon's northern city of Tripoli when it was intercepted and taken to Selaata port, north of Beirut, for inspection.

An overnight search uncovered weapons including rocket-propelled grenades and rifles in three freight containers, the sources said.

The Sierra Leone-flagged ship had sailed from Libya, via the Egyptian port of Alexandria, the sources added.

Syrian authorities have repeatedly said weapons are being smuggled from neighboring countries, including Lebanon, to arm rebels fighting President Bashar Assad.

Lebanon's mainly Sunni Muslim city of Tripoli has seen frequent demonstrations in support of anti-Assad protesters and insurgents. There have also been armed clashes between minority Alawites - from the same sect as Assad's ruling family - and majority Sunnis.

Last week, the Israel Navy intercepted the HS Beethoven cargo ship 260 km off Israel's coast, suspecting that it was being used to smuggle arms to Gaza. After a 12-hour search, the IDF declared that did not find any weapons aboard and allowed the ship to continue on its path.

Two weeks ago, Germany intercepted the Atlantic Cruiser, suspecting that it was being used to smuggle arms to Syria. The ship was towed to a Turkish port, where officials failed to find evidence of arms smuggling.

Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.

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