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Nigeria nabs Iranian weapons for Gaza

  |   Oct. 28, 2010 at 8:01 AM
LAGOS, Nigeria, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Nigerian authorities seized 13 containers of Iranian weapons Israeli officials believed were to be smuggled to Hamas in Gaza, authorities said.

Nigeria's secret service announced rocket launchers, grenades and explosives camouflaged as building materials were seized at the port of Lagos after they were unloaded from an Iranian ship, the Haaretz daily reported Thursday.

After unloading the weapons, the ship left the port, the Israeli newspaper said.

A source at Israel's Foreign Ministry told the newspaper Israel's Embassy in Nigeria was attempting to garner further details from the country's security service and receive information concerning the investigation, Haaretz said.

"On opening the first container, the service operatives discovered rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives," Nigerian State Security Service spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar said. The paper said the Nigerian authorities had received intelligence concerning the ship's cargo before it docked at the port.

The clearing agent in charge of unloading containers reportedly offered to bribe Nigerian customs officials to transfer the containers to a terminal for screening outside the port, the Israeli daily quoted Nigeria media reports saying.

An Israeli defense source told Haaretz the seizure of the cargo has revealed a new smuggling route from Iran to Gaza, adding it appears the Iranians have encountered difficulties shipping weapons via the Red Sea to Sudan and from there to Gaza, because of the international forces monitoring Iranian ships in the Red Sea.

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