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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

October 28, 2002

Massive Multi-National Naval Hunt for al Qaeda Ship

Debka, repeating this story, would seem credible on this account as terror attempts heat up.
NATO, Greek and Israeli navies are scouring three seas - the eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Aegean - for a cargo ship, the 1,600-ton Tonga-flagged Cristi, which is believed to be carrying a band of al Qaeda terrorists to a fresh target.

Greek and Israeli authorities are on high alert.

DEBKAfile’s maritime and counter-terror sources report that the Cristi , like the Sara, which was detained in Italy carrying suspected Pakistani terrorists, and another suspect vessel, Twillinger, is owned by the Greek ship-owner, Dimitris Kokkos, and a Pakistani-American, Rifat Muhammed.

Kokkos, who also owned the Palestinian arms-smuggling ship Karine-A captured last January by the Israel Navy, is said to live in Romania. He is wanted by the Greek authorities for smuggling.

Our investigation reveals that the pair head Nova Spirit Inc., a company registered in Delaware, US, which runs al Qaeda’s shipping operations from the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanza and Nador on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast.

Kokkos and Muhammed both vanished after the true functions of their known fleet of four vessels came to light.

But these ships appear to be only a fraction of the clandestine terrorist naval force prowling the region. Our maritime expert has so far uncovered another at least eight made-over terrorist vessels owned by different Middle East owners, some traced to Syria, which elude discovery by constantly changing flags and identities. They are believed to be bound for terrorist missions on European and Israeli shores, as well as American naval and military targets.