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Thursday, October 28, 2010

A new weapons route from Iran to Gaza?

From Ha'aretz:
Nigeria's secret service said on Tuesday it had intercepted 13 containers of weapons from Iran in what Israeli defense sources believe may be part of a new smuggling route from Iran to Hamas in Gaza.

Rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives camouflaged as building material were seized in the Nigerian port of Lagos after being unloaded from an Iranian ship.

Nigerian media reports said the ship, which came from Iran, docked in Lagos' port for a few hours only, unloaded 13 containers and sailed on.

The bill of lading said the shipment consisted of building materials, Nigerian State Security Service spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar said.

"On opening the first container, the service operatives discovered rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives," Ogar said, adding the weapons were concealed among crates of floor tiles.

A senior defense source said preliminary information suggests the weapons' seizure has exposed a possible new arms smuggling route from Iran to Hamas, via Africa. He said the Iranians may have run into difficulties sending arms to Hamas via the Red Sea to the Sudan region and from there to Gaza via Sinai, following the beefed up international supervision on the movement of Iranian ships.

"Perhaps the Iranians were planning to unload the weapons in Nigeria and transfer them by land to Sudan and Sinai," the senior source said.
Meanwhile, Arabic media quote Yediot Aharonot in Hebrew as saying that Hamas has tested a locally-manufactured rocket that has a range of 80 km, enough to reach the heavily-populated center of the country, as well as Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets with a 70 km range.

Hamas is also said to have anti-aircraft rockets.