NICOSIA Ñ Lebanon has seized 13.2 tons of military equipment
procured from Belarus and meant for Iraq.
Lebanese sources said the equipment was seized by Lebanese
customs authorities in the port of Beirut over the weekend. The sources said
the supplies were bought in Belarus and imported by Lebanese agents for
The Belarus equipment was said to be meant mostly for Iraqi tanks. They
included communications equipment, tank crew helmets and other components
for Iraq's T-72 Soviet-origin main battle tank.
Lebanese sources said the shipment included 600 helmets and 240 wireless
communications sets for tanks. Belarus has denied the shipment.
It was the first time Lebanon was said to have seized smuggled weapons
headed for Iraq. Syria represents the leading route for equipment from
former East Bloc nations to Iraq.
On Tuesday, Lebanese Attorney General Adnan Adoum said two people were
released in the investigation after they were fined for failing to report
the shipment of military goods. Adoum said the shipment arrived in Beirut
from Croatia. He would not elaborate.
Iraq has also been smuggling weapons from South Africa, the sources
said. They said a Finnish fugitive, identified as Sven Peter Fryckman, was
selling weapons and advanced technology equipment worth tens of millions of
dollars to Iraq.