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      Italy Stops Weapons Shipment to Gaza

      Following a tip from Israel, Italian police seize a shipment of weapons intended for Egypt with a final destination of Gaza.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 12/9/2012, 5:33 AM

      Weapons (illustrative)
      Weapons (illustrative)
      Flash90

      Italian police on Saturday seized a shipment of weapons intended for Egypt with a final destination of Gaza, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

      The report said that the weapons were hidden in a cargo shipment and were found in the port of Naples. Local police confirmed the report.

      The weapons, which included a rocket launcher among other things, were part of a shipment that was supposed to go on an Egyptian ship which has been detained by local authorities, reported ANSA. The container in which the weapons were found was part of a shipment of five containers, and the four remaining containers are currently being examined by the Italian customs authorities.

      According to ANSA, the information about the weapons came from Israel. The suspicious containers have been taken to an area of the port which has been closed off by police and is being guarded by military forces. One Egyptian was arrested in the case, said the report, but no further details on his identity were provided.

      Israel has accused Iran of being behind the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. Most recently the Jewish State was fingered for a mysterious bombing at a military factory in Khartoum, Sudan.

      The October 23 strike on the Yarmouk compound led to speculation that Iranian weapons were stored or manufactured at the factory in Khartoum.

      Khartoum has denied Iranian involvement in weapons manufacturing and has accused Israel of "spreading fabricated information".

      Nevertheless, Iran has several times in the past few months sent warships to dock in Sudan. On Saturday, two Iranian warships docked in Port Sudan, marking the second port call by the Iranian navy in Sudan in five weeks.

      Khartoum said it was a "normal" port call but Israeli officials have expressed concern about arms smuggling through Sudan.

      Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has called Israel "enemy number one" because of the attack on the factory.

      There have also been attempts to smuggle weapons to Gaza from Libya via Egypt. Cairo blocked two arms shipments to Gaza in the week following the ceasefire that ended Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense against Hamas’s terror infrastructure.