Israeli commandos seize ship with Iran weapons intended for Hamas (WORLD TRIBUNE) TEL AVIV, ISRAEL 03/16/11)
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TEL AVIV — Israel has captured a ship full of Iranian weapons,
including anti-ship missiles, headed for the Hamas regime in the Gaza
The Israeli military said its naval commandos intercepted a Liberian-
flagged ship identified as Victoria some 200 nautical miles west of
Israel. The military said the ship, seized on March 15, was carrying
anti-ship missiles and sailed from Turkey toward the Egyptian port of
"According to assessments, the various weapons on board the vessel
were intended to be used by terror organizations operating in the
Gaza Strip," the military said. "The IDF would like to note that
Turkey is not tied to the incident in any way."
Officials said Victoria, brought to the Israeli port of Ashdod for
inspection, contained up to 50 tons of heavy weapons. They cited 60mm
and 120mm mortars, missiles, rockets and other weapons and equipment.
"Considerable weaponry — which was destined for terrorist forces in
the heart of Gaza — was found onboard the vessel," Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Officials said Iran has sought to supply the first anti-ship missiles
to Hamas. They said Victoria contained at least four Chinese-origin C-
704 anti-ship missile, with a range of 35 kilometers as well as an
Farsi-language operating manual.
The ship was believed to have been loaded with Iranian weapons in the
Syrian port of Latakia. Officials said Victoria then moved to the
Turkish port of Mersin before the trip to Egypt.
"Preliminary evidence indicates that the weapons aboard the ship
originated in Iran, which strives to arm the Gaza Strip," the
military statement said. "Under Hamas rule, the Gaza Strip has become
part of the Iranian-Syrian-Hamas axis."
A military statement said Victoria´s crew was questioned and
determined not to have known of the weapons cargo. The statement said
the crew did not resist Israel Navy boarding.
"The IDF will continue its intelligence and operational activities in
order to maintain Israel´s security and prevent arms smuggling that
will fuel the terror and strengthen its infrastructure in the Gaza
Strip and in Lebanon," the military said. (Copyright © 2011 East West
Services, Inc. 03/16/11)
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