Thursday, January 22, 2009

US searched suspected Iranian arms-smuggling ship en route to Hamas

Crickets heard world wide condemning Iranian support to terrorism

US searched suspected arms-smuggling ship
The U.S. military intercepted and searched an Iranian-owned ship that officials feared was carrying arms to the militant group Hamas, but two officials said it was unclear Thursday whether those suspicions were founded.

The Cypriot-flagged commercial vessel was tracked by a U.S. Navy ship in the Red Sea over the weekend, one official said. It was boarded and searched with the consent of the vessel's crew on Monday and Tuesday, said another.

They both spoke on condition of anonymity because details were still sketchy and they were not authorized to speak about it on the record.

One official said the two-day search turned up ammunition that included artillery shells; and since Hamas is not known to use artillery, officials are now uncertain who the intended recipient was.

"There's just a lot of things we don't know yet, and it will be a couple of days before we do," he said.

Lt. Stephanie Murdock, a spokeswoman for the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain, said she had no comment on the operation.

But the two other defense officials said the vessel was allowed to continue its voyage after the search. One official said Egypt has been asked to a fuller search once the ship arrives in port.

H/T to Hebrew news discussion board, here.

Cross posted on Weasel Zippers

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