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Report: Israeli arms dealers tried to sell Iran Phantom jet parts

Feb. 18, 2014 at 2:05 AM   |   Comments

JERUSALEM, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Israeli weapons smugglers tried to send jet fighter parts to Iran through Greece in violation of an Iran arms embargo, Greek newspaper ekathimerini.com reports.

The unnamed Israeli arms dealers tried to send the spare parts for F-4 Phantom II aircraft as recently as 10 months ago from a town near Haifa through a bogus Athens company, the newspaper said Monday, citing findings of a secret investigation carried out by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Greece's Financial Crimes Squad.

Greece was not able to locate a British national listed as owning bogus Tassos Karras SA, the newspaper said.

The owner supposedly lived in the northeast Greek city of Thessaloniki.

The illegal arms transactions were carried out in two phases, in December 2012 and April 2013, said ekathimerini.com, which said it had a copy of the investigation report.

Greek authorities, working with U.S. officials, confiscated the shipments before they could be sent to Iran, which has a large fleet of the two-seat, twin-engine F-4 supersonic jets.

Homeland Security and Financial Crimes Squad authorities had no immediate comment on the report.

Israel declined to comment.

If true, the report would represent a shocking effort by Israelis to supply arms to the country's most bitter enemy.

Israel's Channel 2, a commercial station, reported Homeland Security was aware of the shipments "in real time," which is why it was able to thwart them.

The TV report added Israel must have known about the attempted shipment and was undoubtedly updated by the United States.

A Greek court ordered the confiscated shipments transferred to the United States, ekathimerini.com said.

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