Report: U.S. stopped Israeli attack on weapons ship

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The United States vetoed an Israeli plan to attack a ship bearing weapons allegedly from Iran to Hezbollah, according to an Arabic-language newspaper.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported last Friday that Israeli sources said the United States insisted Israel not attack the ship, as it wished. Instead, the Israeli navy captured and boarded the vessel on Nov. 4 off the coast of Cyprus and brought it to the port of Ashdod, where 500 tons of weapons were taken from the ship.

Ha’aretz reported that the ship’s cargo of arms first traveled on an Iranian ship but was unloaded in Egypt and put on the Francop, a German-owned ship run by a Cyprus company.

The Francop crew apparently was unaware that the cargo it received was weapons, including ammunition, artillery shells, rockets and hand grenades. The Israeli navy estimates that it included 300 tons of weapons and more than 3,000 rockets.

Israel believes the cargo was headed for Hezbollah; Hezbollah has denied any connection to the ship.

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