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NKorean Ship Carrying Suspected Missile Parts Seized in Panama Canal

Panama's president says his country has intercepted a North Korean ship coming from Cuba that was attempting to pass through the Panama Canal with suspected missile parts.

President Ricardo Martinelli said late Monday the boat was stopped by authorities, who suspected it was carrying drugs. After boarding the ship, he says police found what is believed to be "sophisticated missile equipment."

He did not elaborate on the quantity or type of missile parts found, but posted a picture on his Twitter feed showing a green tube-shaped object inside a cargo container of sugar.

President Martinelli later told Panama media the captain of the ship attempted to commit suicide and that 35 crew members and the vessel have been detained for further investigation.

Communist Cuba is a rare ally of North Korea, which is isolated from much of the international community in part because of its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

U.N. sanctions forbid North Korea from buying or selling ballistic missile or nuclear technology. The sanctions were tightened following North Korea's third nuclear test in February.

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