Greece stops weapons shipment headed to Libya
The coast guard said the crew of the ship had been taken to the port of Iraklio while further searches continue. (AFP/File)
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A Greek coast guard special unit raided a Bolivian-flagged freighter off the southern island of Crete on Tuesday, and found a shipment of undeclared weapons apparently headed for Libya, The Associated Press (AP) reports.
The coast guard identified the cargo vessel as the Haddad 1, which sailed from the Turkish port of Iskenderun on August 29 and was headed for Libya's western harbor of Misrata.
The coast guard added that the ship "was carrying arms without legal documentation." It wasn't initially clear what kind of armaments the vessel had on board.
The United Nations has imposed an embargo on weapons shipments to Libya. The embargo was imposed in 2011, during the civil war in that country between dictator Muammar Gaddafi and rebels.
Libya has remained divided between an elected parliament and government based in the eastern port of Tobruk, and an Islamist militia-backed government in the capital Tripoli, with jihadists from the Islamic State group also exploiting the chaos.
The Greek coast guard said the Haddad 1, with its crew of 7, is being taken to the port of Iraklio in northern Crete for a further search and investigation into the shipment early Wednesday.
Libya several months ago demanded that the UN Security Council lift the arms embargo so it can fight ISIS.
The request by Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Dairi came after ISIS posted a video of the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.
Al-Dairi stressed that Libya is not asking for international intervention, but said the international community has a "legal and moral responsibility to lend urgent support" and that the region, including the Mediterranean, is in danger.
"If we fail to have arms provided to us, this can only play into the hands of extremists," he warned. He told reporters he wanted to see the same attention paid the danger in Libya as has been paid to Iraq and Syria, where a U.S.-led coalition is battling ISIS.