Cyprus Unloads Weapons Arsenal From Iran Ship Allegedly Running Arms to Hamas

Containers being transported to island naval base; U.S. military says artillery shells, arms found aboard ship.

Cypriot authorities have started unloading an Iranian ship detained off its coast for allegedly attempting to smuggle weapons to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Cyprus has accused Iran of breaching a United Nations ban on its arms exports. A government statement said Friday the cargo, which it did not identify, would be stored on the island. State CyBC radio said containers are being transported to a naval base under police and military guard.

The Cypriot-flagged Monchegorsk has anchored off the port of Limassol since it arrived January 29 under suspicion from U.S. officials of ferrying weapons from Iran to Hamas fighters in Gaza.

The U.S. military said it found artillery shells and other arms aboard the ship after stopping it last month in the Red Sea. Iran denies the ship contains weapons.