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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 September 2006, 13:09 GMT 14:09 UK
Cyprus holds 'Syria arms cargo'
Gregorio I ship in Limassol
The freighter was flying the Panamanian flag
Cypriot officials are considering what to do with a Syria-bound ship held in Limassol port with a cargo of what is thought to be air defence equipment.

Police said 18 of the 21 lorries on board the Gregorio I were fitted with radars which "appear to be part of an air defence system".

Police said the cargo did not match the ship's documentation.

Interpol had told Cyprus the vessel might be smuggling arms and that it had been loaded in China and North Korea.

The equipment was offloaded from the ship, which was detained in Limassol on 5 September.

The Cyprus Mail newspaper says customs must now give clearance for the cargo to be released.

There is no arms ban on Syria, but the authorities may still impose a fine for false description of the cargo, the paper says.

Israel alleges that arms are regularly smuggled across Syria's borders to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.


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