Iran said to be final destination for gold-laden plane

January 06, 2013, Sunday/ 16:24:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Iran appears to be the final destination of a cargo plane carrying 1.5 tons of gold, which is currently being held at an İstanbul airport, a Turkish news report said on Sunday.

The plane, an Airbus A-300 owned by a Turkish private company, made an emergency landing at Atatürk Airport for refueling and personnel reshuffle on Jan. 1, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported on Saturday. The aircraft has been held at the airport since then due to missing documents.

Anatolia said the plane took off from an African country and was destined for Dubai. Several reports in the media said the African country in question was Ghana.

Pro-government Yeni Şafak daily, on the other hand, said the cargo plane originally departed from Algeria and made a stopover in Ghana before landing in İstanbul for refueling and a change of personnel. The plane was then ordered to remain at the airport after customs officials found out that it was laden with 1.5 tons of gold. It is highly likely that the final destination is Iran, the daily said.

As of Sunday, the plane was locked and its front door and cargo gate were sealed. A special security team was guarding the aircraft at the airport.

Anatolia said the plane will depart after the necessary documents are presented.

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