Israel Navy Seizes Iranian Arms ShipmentMarch 15, 2011 14:08 by Pesach Benson
Israeli naval commandos intercepted a boat carrying Iranian weapons bound for Gaza.
According to the IDF Spokesperson blog, the “Victoria” left the Syrian port of Latakia for Turkey, and was en route to the Egyptian port of Alexandria when Israel seized the boat in international waters. The German-owned boat, which was flying a Liberian flag is now being taken to Ashdod.
You know, it wasn’t so long ago when Iran said its Syria-bound warships carry a message of peace after crossing the Suez canal.
That wasn’t all they apparently carried . . .
UPDATE 2:55 pm: Just had a phone briefing with Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich from the IDF’s Spokesperson’s Dept. The story’s still developing, but the main tidbits she mentioned:
- Israel doesn’t believe Egypt or Turkey knew about the smuggling. This is about Iran and Syria working together to smuggle weapons to Hamas.
- There’s no information yet that the weapons arrived on the two Iranian naval ships which passed through the Suez canal, but the IDF brass isn’t ruling out the possibility.
- The commandos opened a few containers, found weapons, then proceeded to take the boat to Israel.
- Stay tuned for more info after the army unloads the weapons and takes stock of the cache.
UPDATE 3:35 pm: Lest we forget, this isn’t the first time Iran was caught trying to smuggle weapons to Gaza.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted background info. Read up on The Santorini, Karine-A, Abu-Hasan, The Monchegorsk, Hansa India, Francop, and two overland smuggling attempts.
UPDATE 8 pm: The IDF has released video footage showing the Israeli Navy requesting the crew of the Victoria to allow it to be boarded.
The crew complied, and the ship was boarded by the Israeli Navy without incident.
Photos of the weapons found on board can be seen here at the IDF’s Flickr page.