Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Israelis Produce Evidence To Back Up Arms Smuggling Accusation

Ships Manifest and Container Markings Point To Iran
Shipping News Feature

ISRAEL – Following on from last Tuesdays seizure by Israeli commandos of an illegal arms shipment off of the coast of Cyprus the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has produced a series of documents and other evidence which it says confirms the weapons were being shipped by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL).

In a statement the MFA said that: “An examination of the munitions seized proves conclusively that the source of the arms was Iran. This is clear both from the shipping documents and the markings on the munitions themselves.”

In one of the largest such seizures, 500 tons of ammunition stored in 36 shipping containers was found on the Francop. Amongst the haul were some 9,000 mortar bombs, 3,000 Katyusha artillery rockets, 3,000 recoilless gun shells, 20,000 grenades and over a half million rounds of small arms ammunition.

The Francop was subsequently released after the weapons were unloaded with assurances from the Israeli authorities that they were happy that no one onboard or with the operating company was aware of the contraband.

The MFA provide photographic evidence that along with the ships manifest stating the shipping agent was IRISL and camouflage provided by Iranian made polyethylene sacks that were the stated load, the weapons and detonation fuses themselves are of Iranian manufacture.

In addition, labelling on some of the crates indicate the involvement of the Iranian Ministry of Sepah, who are in charge of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, a paramilitary organisation which has been accused of assisting terrorist organisations around the world.

The Iranians denied involvement shortly after the seizure was made last week. The IRISL has been, as previously reported, had restrictions upon its trade placed upon it by the UK government.

(pic: The manifest showing IRISL involvement)