May 8, 2012 / 8:52 AM / 7 years ago

Lebanon seizes smuggled ammunition on Italian ship

* 9mm and AK-47 bullets hidden in cars

* Cars picked up from Egypt’s Alexandria

* Weapons often smuggled from Lebanon to Syria

BEIRUT, May 8 (Reuters) - Lebanese authorities have seized 60,000 rounds of ammunition hidden in two cars on an Itlaian container ship docked at Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, a security source said on Tuesday.

The source did not say where the shipment was heading. But Syria has repeatedly said weapons are being smuggled over its border from Lebanon and other countries to arm rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

The two cars, searched on Monday, held 60,000 bullets including rounds for 9mm pistols and Kalashnikov (AK-47) rifles, the source said. “The ship is Italian but picked up the two cars in (the Egyptian port of) Alexandria,” he added.

In late April, Lebanese authorities seized a large consignment of Libyan weapons including rocket-propelled grenades and heavy calibre ammunition from a ship intercepted in the Mediterranean. The ship’s owner said the vessel was travelling to Tripoli in Lebanon.

Tripoli, a mainly Sunni Muslim city, has seen regular protests in support of the 14-month uprising against Assad. (Reporting by Oliver Holmes; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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