Report: German ship carrying Iranian weapons to Syria stopped at sea (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Ofer Aderet and The Associated Press 04/15/12)
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A German ship carrying Iranian weapons was stopped in the
Mediterranean on Saturday, according to a report by Der Spiegel.
The ship, weighing 6,200 tons, was carrying weapons and ammunition to
Tartus, Syria with the aim of arming President Bashar Assad´s forces,
the report said.
It docked a few days ago in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, where it
was loaded with weapons supplied by an Iranian cargo ship.
The ship was identified by Syrian defectors, who contacted the German
shipping company. The company then ordered the ship to change course,
and although it started heading toward Turkey is was eventually
halted 80 kilometers southwest of Tartus.
The German government said it was looking into the report, and its
Economy Ministry said it was "investigating whether the ship broke an
embargo on Syria."
Der Spiegel quoted shipping agent Torsten Lueddeke of Hamburg-based
Bulk Chartering as saying: "We stopped the ship after we received
on the weapons cargo."
He said the ship was chartered to Ukraine-based White Whale Shipping,
and they said the ship was carrying pumps and similar equipment.
The Ukrainian company denied the ship was carrying any military cargo
or weapons, saying instead that it was loaded in India with
electronics and was headed for Turkey.
The boat is due to dock in Turkey on Sunday, where it will be
Germany has been a strong advocate of sanctions against Syria amid a
violent crackdown by President Bashar Assad´s government on the
country´s uprising. The 27-nation European Union has imposed an arms
embargo among other measures.
Earlier on Saturday, human rights group said Syrian forces shelled
two central districts in the battered city of Homs, the first
bombings since a ceasefire took hold on Thursday.
"There was shelling last night in the old part of the city, in Jouret
al-Shiyah and al-Qaradis. And I have heard eight shells fall in the
past hour," Karm Abu Rabea, a resident activist who lives in an
adjacent neighborhood, said on Saturday morning.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that
shelling had wounded several people overnight.
On Friday, Syrian forces used live fire, tear gas and clubs to beat
back tens of thousands of protesters who took to the streets across
the country in powerful and often jubilant displays of defiance. But
at that time the UN-brokered truce largely held up without the
widespread, bloody offensives that have pushed the nation toward
Activists said security forces killed at least six people, a lower-
than-usual toll. The rallies, described as some of the largest in
months, stretched from the suburbs of Damascus to the central
province of Hama, Idlib in the north and the southern province of
Daraa, where the uprising began in March 2011. (© Copyright 2012
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