Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Israel Navy yesterday seized a cargo vessel carrying weapons 200 miles west of Israel’s coast, according to a statement by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The 50 weapons found on-board the ship are believed to have been sourced from Iran. The weapons seized include C-704 anti-ship missiles equipped with radars and an unidentified number of 60 and 120 mm mortar shells.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes these were intended to be used against Israelis. In a statement, he said:
Very early this morning, I approved the Navy’s interception of the Victoria. We had a solid basis that on-board the ship was weaponry destined for use against Israel. Considerable weaponry – which was destined for terrorist forces in the heart of Gaza – was found on-board the vessel. The operation was carried out at sea in accordance with all international rules and our right under international law to stop weapons smuggling directed against our citizens.
The German-owned ship “Victoria” was flying under the Liberian flag and was headed to Egypt en route from Turkey’s Mersin Port. Liberian and German authorities were informed of the incident. The IDF made clear that Turkey was not tied to the incident in any way.
The ship has since been directed to the Israeli port of Ashdod where the crew will be questioned and weapons examined more thoroughly. For Netanyahu’s administration that has grown increasingly wary of civil unrest in the region this comes as another blow to Israel’s security.
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