Israel says weapons shipment a war crime, Iran and Syria cry foul
Israel's Netanyahu said Thursday a large arms shipment seized this week was sent by Iran to Syria and Hezbollah, and charged this was a 'war crime.'
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that a large Iranian weapons shipment that Israel seized on Wednesday – and alleges was destined for Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon – constituted a "war crime." He said the United Nations Security Council should convene a special session to discuss the issue.Skip to next paragraph
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"The bulk of the shipment included rockets whose aim is to hurt our citizens and kill as many civilians as possible,'' Prime Minister Netanyahu charged in a press conference. Iran and Syria said there was no weapons shipment, and Hezbollah said whatever the cargo, it was not intended for them.
Israel seized the German-owned freighter Francorp in international waters near Cyprus after it had departed Iran, transited the Suez Canal, and made a brief stop in Egypt. The Israeli navy said it found 500 tons of Katyusha rockets, mortars, bullets, and grenades in containers belonging to an Iranian shipping line, and said the ship's manifest indicated the cargo was destined for Syria. Both Iran and Syria have supplied arms to Hezbollah in the past.
UN Security Council Resolution 1747 does forbid Iran from selling arms: "Iran shall not supply, sell, or transfer directly or indirectly
from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related materiel, and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals."
But Israel offered no proof for its contention that their ultimate destination was the hands of Hezbollah, which fought a brief war against Israeli forces in southern Lebanon in 2006. That war ended with a cease-fire monitored by the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which is charged with interdicting arms shipments in Lebanese territorial waters and inside the country. A UNIFIL spokesman said the group considered the charge the weapons were destined for Hezbollah as yet "unproven."