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By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Israel's U.N. ambassador complained to the United Nations on Thursday about what she said was an Iranian attempt to skirt a U.N. arms embargo and supply weapons to the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah.
Israeli officials said on Wednesday that naval commandos had seized a ship carrying hundreds of tons of Iranian-supplied arms, including rockets, to the Shi'ite Muslim group.
"These grave violations constitute a threat to peace and security, as well as non-compliance with international legal obligations," Israel's U.N. ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, said in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
"The weapons -- concealed, wrapped and declared as civilian cargo in the ship's manifest -- were hidden among hundreds of other containers aboard the ship that originated from the Islamic Republic of Iran," Shalev wrote.
She also sent the letter to Austrian Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting, president of the Security Council during November, so that the 15-nation panel can take up the issue.
"Israel ... requests the Security Council to take the appropriate action in view of these constant violations and to further investigate this complaint," she said.
Iranian-backed Hezbollah fired some 4,000 rockets into Israel during a 34-day war in 2006, and Israel has repeatedly told the council that the group continues to rearm with the aid of Syria and Iran.
U.N. peacekeepers in southern Lebanon have uncovered some arms that appeared to belong to Hezbollah in violation of a U.N. ban on all on unauthorized weapons south of the Litani River.
Israeli Commodore Ran Ben-Yehuda said on Wednesday the weapons on the Antigua-flagged Francop were found behind civilian goods in at least 40 shipping containers and were enough to keep Hezbollah supplied for a month of fighting.
The commodore also said the crates of bullets, rocket-propelled grenades and rockets were picked up by the Francop in the Egyptian port of Damietta and were to have reached Hezbollah via Syria.
Hezbollah, Syria and Iran have all denied having any connection to the weapons shipment found on the Francop.
(Editing by Paul Simao)

Reuters