Page last updated at 23:29 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Cyprus searches 'Gaza arms' ship

A ship suspected of smuggling weapons to Hamas in Gaza is anchored off Limassol
Cyprus remains tight-lipped about the ship and its cargo

Cyprus has searched a cargo ship suspected of smuggling weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip, the foreign ministry in Nicosia has said.

It said it had given the UN a report after two inspections of the vessel, which is now anchored off the port of Limassol amid tight police security.

Cyprus said the issue was "sensitive" and gave no details about the cargo.

Suspicions that the ship was carrying arms from Iran to Hamas in Gaza were reportedly raised by the US military.

Some reports say the US military boarded the Cyprus-flagged Monchegorsk cargo ship in the Red Sea last month, but could not legally detain it or seize its cargo.

The ship then sailed to Egypt's Port Said, before arriving in Cyprus last week.

In December, Israel launched a three-week offensive against the Hamas-run Gaza, attempting to end rocket attack by the militants on southern Israeli towns.

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