Turks intercept Iranian missile shipment to Hizballah

Monday, August 21, 2006 |  by Staff Writer  

The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet is reporting today that Turkish authorities intercepted five Iranian cargo aircraft and one Syrian aircraft carrying missiles to Hizballah.

According to the report the aircraft were forced to land at Diyarbakir Airport in southeastern Turkey. The aircraft were not allowed to take off after US intelligence sources found there were three missile launchers and crates of C-802 missiles on board the planes which were identical to the missile that struck the Israeli Navy Ship “Hanit” during the war.

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that Israel will continue to prevent weapons from reaching Hizballah from Syria and Iran. “I will not allow the situation that happened before the war to return,” said Peretz during a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. He also asked Gul that Turkey send troops to the international force deploying in Lebanon.

During yesterday’s Cabinet meeting Peretz said that Israel will not allow the Lebanese army to deploy on the border with Israel and will push it back until the augmented international force arrives in the area. According to Peretz, the Lebanese army will stay two kilometers from the border, in an attempt to prevent the return of Hizballah forces to the area adjacent to the fence.

Meanwhile, The Times newspaper in London is reporting that the British Foreign Office is currently investigating an Israeli claim that British-made equipment was found in Hizballah bunkers in southern Lebanon.

According to the report, the equipment includes night vision aids, radio equipment, and listening devices. Sources in Britain say that one assumption is that the equipment was sold legitimately to Iran in 2003 for the purpose of fighting drug trafficking through Iran’s eastern border with Afghanistan, and then smuggled to Lebanon.

Liam Fox, the British Shadow Defense Secretary, said: “If this turns out to be true, and Iran supplied backing for Hizballah, it will have consequences for any future military exports to Iran. And it points the finger all the more strongly at Iranian involvement in destabilizing the Middle East.”

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