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Middle East

Iran 'weapons ship' to reach Israeli shores Saturday

A handout picture released by the Israeli Army shows a missile on an intercepted ship in the Red Sea on March 5, 2014 carrying what Israeli military says was Iranian "advanced weaponry" bound for Palestinian militants in Gaza. AFP PHOTO / ISRAELI ARMY / HO

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: A ship Israel said was carrying advanced rockets bound for Gaza from Iran will be brought into port Saturday after being intercepted by Israeli naval forces, the military said.

"This ship, which was transporting dozens of M302-type rockets with a range of 150 to 200 kilometres (more than 100 miles) is currently north of Port Sudan and will arrive in Eilat Saturday evening," General Motti Almoz told military radio Thursday.

"Once it arrives we will check that other arms and munitions aren't aboard," he said.

Israel intercepted the "Klos-C" in the Red Sea between Eritrea and Sudan on Wednesday, claiming that Syrian-made weapons aboard had been shipped overland to Iran and then onward by sea, intended for Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Israel latched onto the alleged weapons shipment to chide Western powers for negotiating with Tehran over its nuclear programme.

Israel has long accused Iran and Syria of providing military aid to Hezbollah and to Palestinian militant groups, and the military spokesman's office tweeted that the ship was carrying weapons "capable of striking anywhere in Israel".

Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam television channel quoted a military official in the Islamic republic as denying the Israeli report, calling it "totally without foundation".

Israel's Wednesday announcement came hours after it said it struck two Hezbollah fighters as they tried to plant a bomb near the Syrian-Israeli frontier and just over a week after Israel reportedly bombed the Iran-backed group inside Lebanon for the first time since 2006.

 

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