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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cyprus Impounds Suspected Syria-Bound Arms Ship

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE | Thu, September 7th, 2006, 02:16

Cypriot authorities were searching an impounded cargo ship on Sept. 6 after being tipped off that the Syria-bound vessel was carrying an illicit stash of weapons.

”Its bill of lading said it was carrying meteorological equipment. We have been informed that Interpol had information of its possible involvement in arms smuggling,” Cyprus ports authority chairman Chrysis Prentzas told state radio.

State radio said metal pipes were found on board the Panamanian-flagged Grigorio 1 which could be the casing of a weapons system.
”Something has been found which can be used for meteorological purposes but it can also have a military use and we are checking this out,” a source close to the enquiry told AFP.

The ship anchored off the southern port of Limassol on Sept. 5 after leaving Egypt’s Port Said for Latakia in Syria and was immediately boarded by a special Cyprus police unit and explosives experts armed with a search warrant.

Police said the documentation did not match the description of the goods on the ship and that they were questioning the eight-man crew about the suspect cargo.

Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros quoted unnamed officials as saying they were almost certain that some of the items on board were part of a missile launcher.
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