Iraq-Bound Cylinder Seized in Greece

From Associated Press

Greek customs officials have seized a huge cylinder that Iraq ordered from Britain for an artillery system, the government said Friday.

The announcement came seven days after Britain seized a shipment of steel tubes that it said Iraq had ordered to make an enormous gun for firing missiles.

Customs officials in Greece's western port of Patras on Thursday seized a British truck that "was conveying to Iraq a part of an artillery system weighing 29.5 tons," the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

It said documents listed the cargo as a copper cylinder.

Sotirios Sotiriou, Patras' chief customs official, said the truck was carrying a 17-foot-long cylinder with a base for connecting it to a gun carriage.

Sotiriou said the man who was driving the truck, Paul Ashwell, 25, of Northampton, England, was arrested and that he will be charged with illegally importing arms into Greece.

On April 11, British officials seized eight steel tubes on the Middlesbrough docks in England. They said the tubes were parts for a gun that would be 130 feet long.

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