(Washington, D.C.) — “IDF special forces on Wednesday intercepted a ship in the Red Sea carrying an Iranian arms shipment headed for the Gaza Strip, Israel’s military said,” reports the Times of Israel. “Israeli naval commandos from the elite Shayetet 13 unit boarded and took control of the ‘Klos-C’ merchant ship, sailing under the Panama flag, at around 5 a.m. They encountered no resistance and there were no casualties reported on either side.”
“The army said soldiers carried out a preliminary inspection of the ship and found several dozen advanced Syrian M-302 missiles, with a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) and a payload of up to 170 kilograms (375 pounds),” noted the Times. “The missiles were hidden in shipping containers also carrying sacks of concrete. The incident took place 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) from Israel’s coast, in the Red Sea, off the Sudanese-Eritrean border. Israel had been tailing the ship for several days before the operation was launched. The ship had a crew of 17, who were being interrogated by Israeli security forces. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said crew members were apparently unaware of the ship’s secret cargo. The vessel had reportedly set sail from Iran 10 days ago and was set to reach Sudan on Thursday. From there, the weaponry would have been smuggled into Gaza. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz personally oversaw the operation and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was briefed on its progress as he toured the US, the IDF said. Netanyahu commended Gantz and Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo for their efficient work.”
“I would like to congratulate the IDF, Israel’s intelligence apparatuses and of course the commanders and soldiers of the navy who carried out a flawless operation to capture a covert Iranian weapons ship,” Netanyahu said in a video statement. “As it conducts talks with [world] powers, as Iran smiles and utters pleasantries, the same Iran is sending lethal weapons to terror organizations…via an intricate network of clandestine global operations…in order to hurt innocent civilians….This is the real Iran and this country must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect Israeli citizens.”
President Shimon Peres said, “This operation exposes the true face of Iran which says one thing but does the opposite. They put on an innocent face and send the most dangerous missiles to a terror organization that kills innocents, in violation of international law. Iran must make up its mind either to tell the truth and respect international law or admit that it is all camouflage and we cannot trust their policy or declaration. The same is true for Hamas.”
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