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      Iran's History of Weapons Smuggling

      Tuesday's interception of a terrorist weapons ship near Cyprus is just another in a long series of similar attempted deliveries in recent years.
      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 11/4/2009, 1:25 PM / Last Update: 11/4/2009, 1:27 PM

      Israel news photo

      The interception of the terrorist weapons ship near Cyprus - believed to be an Iranian shipment to Hizbullah – is just another one in a long series of similar attempted deliveries over the past several years.

      In December 2001, the Karine-A ship was loaded in Iran with weapons and ammunition destined for Gaza. The ship took off for Egypt, where it planned to unload its cargo into fishing boats that would chug over to the Gaza coast. Israel intercepted the shipment on January 3, 2002, finding 83 specially-coated cases for sea-smuggling purposes, configurable to float at various distances below the ocean surface. 

      Included in the shipment were 107mm and 122mm Katyusha rockets (capable of reaching major Israeli cities), 120mm mortars, Sager and LAW anti-tank missiles, explosives, anti-tank mines, scuba gear, AK-47 assault rifles and other weapons. The vessel was manned by 13 PLO personnel and at least one person identified with the Lebanese Hizbullah terrorist organization.

      Arutz-7's Kobi Finkler also reports on the following:
      * In December 2003, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard operated an airlift of weapons to Hizbullah via Syria, under cover of humanitarian aid to the earthquake-ravaged Iranian city of Bam.

      * In May 2007, Turkey discovered another Iranian airlift of mortar shells, light weapons, ammunition and rocket launchers, headed for Hizbullah.

      * In January of this year, an Iranian shipment of arms was intercepted in Cyprus, including anti-tank shells, artillery shells, mortar shells, and more.

      * Last month (October 2009), the Indian Hansa ship, flying a German flag, departed from Iran to Egypt. Suspicious German authorities ordered the ship not to dock in Egypt, but rather in Malta, where they found bullets and industrial equipment for the manufacture of weapons that had apparently been bound for Syria.