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Israel Accuses Iran of War Crimes Over Arms-Laden Ship

Israel Accuses Iran of War Crimes Over Arms-Laden Ship

Israel Accuses Iran of War Crimes Over Arms-Laden Ship

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Israel's prime minister is accusing Iran of committing a war crime for allegedly trying to send an arms-laden ship to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Benjamin Netanyahu says the ship that Israel seized Wednesday contained rockets and other weapons that Hezbollah would have used to kill "as many civilians as possible," as he put it.

Hezbollah denied Thursday having any connection to the hundreds of tons of weapons on the vessel intercepted by Israeli commandos near Cyprus. The group also condemned what it called Israeli piracy in international waters.

Mr. Netanyahu called on the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council to take action against Iran over the shipment. Israel says the Antiguan-flagged vessel, named Francop, was carrying Iranian weapons to Syria for eventual delivery to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Israel has not provided proof of Iranian and Syrian links to the ship, which the two countries deny.

Israel's military seized the vessel after it left the Egyptian port of Damietta and brought it to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The military says it found the weapons hidden among civilian cargo and recovered an Iranian document showing the shipment originated in Iran.

Israeli authorities put the weapons on display Wednesday. Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets at northern Israel when the two sides fought a month-long war in 2006. The war ended with a U.N. Security Council-backed truce that placed an embargo on arms shipments to Hezbollah.

In 2002, the Israeli military confiscated about 50 tons of weapons from a ship that it says was bound for Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.