Israel, US foil Iran arms transfer

Agencies alerted Turkey of planes with weapons for Hizbullah in airspace.

olmert gul 298 ap (photo credit: AP)
olmert gul 298 ap
(photo credit: AP)
Israeli and American intelligence agencies alerted Turkish authorities last Friday that several Lebanon-bound Iranian planes, loaded with military hardware meant for the Hizbullah, were making their way through Turkish airspace, The Jerusalem Post has learned. According to information obtained by the Post, the intelligence agencies were tracking several suspicious Iranian aircraft as they were taking off from an Iranian airfield.
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Turkey was then warned about the planes and their cargo which were to fly over Turkish airspace. Shortly after Turkey was tipped off, Iranian officials ordered the planes to return to their point of departure, where, according to unconfirmed Turkish reports, the arms were removed from the Iranian planes. After offloading the arms, the planes took off again and were forced to land in Turkey for inspection by the airport authorities. Turkish aviation officials told the Post that no weapons were found on the planes. Since the war with Hizbullah erupted last month, and especially since the ceasefire, Turkey has intercepted several Iranian and Syrian Lebanon-bound ships in the Eastern Mediterranean sea, as well as two transit trucks from Syria, the Post has learned. Meanwhile, the London-based Arab daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on Monday that large amounts of rockets have been transferred from Iran to Syria en route to the Hizbullah in Lebanon. According to the report, the Iranian Revolutionary Commands have set up a special body in Damascus whose aim is to supply all of Hizbullah's needs. It was also reported on Monday that British officials were investigating reports that night vision goggles uncovered in a Hizbullah hideout were manufactured in Britain, a Foreign Office spokesman said on Monday. "The Israeli Defense Forces have told us that they have found some night vision equipment in southern Lebanon that they believe to have been manufactured in Britain," the spokesman said. Britain's The Times newspaper reported Monday that Israeli officials believe the goggles may be from a consignment sold by Britain in 2003 to Iran. The sale to Teheran was intended to bolster Iranian efforts to combat heroin smuggling across the Iran-Afghanistan border as part of the United Nations Drugs Control Program, the newspaper claimed. With AP