Israel intercepts Gaza-bound ship for security check (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Yoav Zitun, Reuters Published: 04.22.12, 20:49)
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Naval commandoes board cargo ship some 160 miles off Israeli coast,
but ´nothing outstanding found´
Israeli naval forces intercepted on Sunday a Liberian-flagged cargo
ship that was headed to Gaza. Commandoes boarded the vessel for
a "security check," military sources said.
The ship was intercepted outside Israel´s territorial waters due to
suspicions it was carrying weapons designated for terror
organizations in Gaza. The captain authorized the subsequent search
of the vessel by Shayetet 13 soldiers.
Israel routinely patrols the seas for ships suspected of carrying
weapons destined for Palestinian terrorists. A year ago Israel seized
a cargo ship it said held Iranian-supplied arms intended for the
Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
The official said so far "nothing outstanding has been found" on the
ship, and declined to provide details, describing the interception
as "routine protection of our territorial waters."
An Israeli military source said the ship was seized about 160 miles
(260 km) off the Israeli coast, and that troops were conducting
a "very thorough search of its cargo."
The IDF Spokesperson´s Unit issued a statement saying, "In the
framework of the Navy´s routine activity aimed at preventing
smuggling, a naval force stopped the Liberian-flagged cargo
ship ´Beethoven´ some 160 miles off Israel´s coast. The search is
being conducted with the captain´s authorization. If no suspicious
items are found, the ship will continue on its way.
"The IDF and security forces will continue to act relentlessly in the
fight against the terror organizations´ efforts to arm themselves
with the aim of harming Israeli civilians," the statement read.
In the earlier searborne interception in March 2011, Israel said the
vessel it seized had set sail from Syria, had stopped in Turkey and
had been destined for Alexandria in Egypt.
Palestinians use a network of tunnels to smuggle weapons into Gaza
from Egypt. Palestinian terrorists in Gaza often fire rockets at
Israel and say it is in response to Israeli raids in their coastal
territory. (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 04/22/12)
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