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The Lebanese navy intercepted a ship on Friday suspected of carrying weapons destined for Syria's rebel army, a security official told Agence France Presse. The vessel "Lutfallah II" was stopped by the navy off Lebanon's northern coast and towed to a port near the city of Batroun. News reports said the ship was coming from the Egyptian port of Alexandria and was headed to the Lebanese coastal city of Tripoli. Al-Manar television also reported that the ship had sailed from Alexandria in Egypt and that it had been headed to Tripoli in northern Lebanon. It said that it was shipping three containers loaded with weapons. Meanwhile, Lebanon's state-run television Tele Liban reported that the ship had first sailed from Libya ahead of arriving at Alexandria and that it is owned by Syrian national Mohammed Khafaja. Tele Liban said shipping agent Ahmed Bernard was arrested without mentioning the identity of his imprisoners. The TV network said the ship sailed from Libya under the guise of carrying engines and oils. An AFP photographer at the port where the vessel was towed said dozens of army personnel could be seen around the ship. Three large container trucks were also seen entering the port. Syrian authorities have repeatedly charged that weapons were being smuggled from Lebanon into Syria to assist rebels seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad. NBN television reported that the ship was carrying arms destined for the armed gangs in Syria. OTV later said that the navy escorted the ship to Salaata port in Batroun on suspicion that it was smuggling arms.Three of its containers were confiscated, OTV said. The ship may be later taken to the Jounieh or Beirut ports, OTV added.
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