Syria denies Israeli role in crew rescue

Syria has denied that Israel's navy helped search for the crew of a ship that sank in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, saying the incident happened too far from the Israeli coast.

    Syria and Israel have given different accounts of the incident

    Three crew members - two Syrians and an Egyptian - have been

    rescued and four are still missing, according to an official at

    Syria's port of Tartus, where the Syrian-owned ship was

    heading.

    The ship sailed from the

    Mediterranean port of al-Arish in northeastern Egypt, but the official did not say

    when.

    Aljazeera's correspondent in Cairo has reported, quoting an al-Arish harbour authority source, that the ship was a Korean-flagged vessel by the name of Mima, which was headed

    for Tartus.

    The vessel that came to rescue its crew members was a Syrian ship named al-Fahim, the source told Aljazeera.

    Israel's military said on Wednesday that its navy vessels and

    helicopters joined US and French naval units in the

    search for the crew of a ship that it said sank about 56km

    off the coast of northern Israel.

    "Israeli military boats did not take any role in the

    search," the Syrian official told The Associated Press

    on Thursday.

    Different locations

    The official said the ship sank about 160km off

    the Israeli coast. It was not clear why the Syrian and

    Israeli officials gave different locations.

    He said the ship was carrying 1400 tonnes of

    cement, adding that the three crew members were saved by the Turkish

    crew of a Panamanian ship.

    They were transferred to a

    French military vessel before being handed over to a Syrian

    ship on its way to Tartus.

    Three Syrians and an Egyptian are still missing, he said.

    An Israeli military spokesman said on Wednesday the

    search for the four missing men was suspended after several

    hours because of darkness and sea conditions and was to be

    renewed at daybreak on Thursday.

    On Wednesday, an Israeli military spokesman said the three

    survivors were picked up by a nearby cargo ship and later

    transferred to a Syrian vessel.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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