ATHENS (Apr. 25)
A reported tip from the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, has led the Greek authorities to impound steel forgings alleged to be part of a “super-gun” manufactured in Britain for Iraq.
The truck driver who brought them to Greece has been questioned and faces a hearing Saturday.
The suspicious cargo was seized April 19 at the port of Patras, in western Greece. The truck arrived there in a car ferry from Brindisi, in southeastern Italy.
The weekly To Vima claimed that after British customs agents confiscated probable gun parts earlier this month, as they were about to be loaded aboard ship at the northern England port of Middlesborough, the Iraqis decided to transport the rest overland.
According to the paper, the Mossad knew the routes and had the truck under surveillance.
The driver, Paul Ashwell, identified as a Norwegian resident of Northampton, England, reportedly told customs he was to deliver his load to Mersin, Turkey, for the final leg to Iraq.
Ashwell’s documents describe the cargo as steel pipe for oil-drilling machinery consigned to the Iraqi Ministry of Industry.
British investigators have determined that the pipes seized in Middlesborough were intended for military use, probably to form a three-stage rocket launcher that could boost weapons into orbit. The alleged super-gun is capable of hurling nuclear or chemical missiles at distant targets in Israel or Iran.