- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 16, 2002

From combined dispatches
The Israeli military yesterday denied a report in The Washington Times that U.S. intelligence agencies helped it track down a ship carrying Iranian-supplied arms destined for Palestinian areas.
"This operation was purely blue and white," spokeswoman Capt. Sharon Feingold said, alluding to the colors of Israel's national flag. She declined to give further details about the Jan. 3 seizure of the Karine A in the Red Sea.
The Times, quoting unnamed U.S. intelligence officials in yesterday's editions, said Israel had approached the CIA last month with a request for help in locating a ship believed to be carrying arms for the Palestinian Authority.
"U.S. intelligence agencies, using various high-tech intelligence-gathering means, were able to identify the Karine A after it loaded the weapons near Iran's Kish Island, some 300 miles north of the major Iranian naval port of Bandar Abbas," The Times said.
That account, contrary to Israeli denials, also was reported independently yesterday by the Associated Press.
The wire service article cited "a U.S. government source speaking on the condition of anonymity."
Israeli officials have said the ship was carrying 50 tons of munitions including rockets, anti-tank missiles, small arms and explosives bound for the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority has denied knowledge of the ship.
Quoting intelligence officials, The Times said many of the weapons were identified as coming from Iranian production facilities. This was consistent with statements by Israeli officials.
U.S. intelligence officials told the newspaper U.S. help was considered vital in Israeli military efforts to identify the vessel.
Israeli officials said the arms were loaded off Kish Island on the night of Dec. 11-12 with help from the Iranian-backed Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah.
Iran on Monday denied any weapons link to the Palestinian Authority and called for an investigation of Israeli claims.

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