ANKARA — Turkey has been searching Iranian cargo planes for weapons for Hizbullah after being apprised of U.S. intelligence reports.
Turkey went on alert after a U.S. spy satellite detected Iranian soldiers loading the Russian-origin aircraft with Chinese-origin C-802 cruise missiles. The information was relayed to Iraq and Turkey.
An official said Iraq denied the Iranian air force plane entry while Turkey said the Ilyushin must undergo inspection. At that point, the Iranian cargo plane was said to have returned to Teheran.
Earlier, Hizbullah fired three C-802s toward an Israeli missile boat near the Lebanese coast. The Saar-class vessel was damaged.
During the past month, Turkish authorities intercepted two Iranian planes bound for Syria. The Iranian planes were inspected for weapons for Hizbullah but none were found.
A U.S. official said Turkey blocked a third Iranian aircraft from reaching Syria. The official said an Iranian Il-76 cargo aircraft left Mehrabad air base near Teheran for Damascus on July 20.