An Israeli military court has sentenced a former aide of the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, to 20 years in prison for weapons trafficking.

Fuad Shubaki organised and financed an arms shipment on the Karine-A cargo ship that was intercepted by Israeli forces in 2002, the court ruled.

Shubaki, who was head of finance for the Palestinian security services, denied the charges.

He said his job only involved carrying out orders from Mr Arafat.

The Karine-A was stopped by Israeli commandos 500km (300 miles) off the Israeli coast in the Red Sea on 3 January, 2002.

Israel said at the time that the ship was carrying 50 tonnes of Iranian-made weapons, including Katyusha rockets, ammunition and explosives.

The incident threatened attempts by the US to implement a ceasefire between the two sides.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/08/30 13:20:42 GMT