Israel Seizes Huge Arms Cache, Purportedly Having Originated in Iran
November 5, 2009
Israel Seizes Huge Arms Cache, Purportedly Having Originated In Iran
November 4, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - [via JPost] According to a story carried by the Jerusalem Post Defense officials say weapons bound for Syria, Hizbullah, IDF forces interdicted a huge cache of weapons, believed destined for use by Hezbollah. The weaponry was seized 100 miles West of the Jewish state.
"Hundreds of tons of weaponry...Thousands of Iranian mortars, rockets, grenades found aboard ship. The transfer of such large amounts of weapons, "is done in order to create a balance of terror with Israel," said Brigadier General Rani Ben-Yehuda, deputy commander of the Israeli navy, at a press conference."
Defense officials say weapons were bound for Syria, HizbullahNov. 4, 2009 Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1256799087344&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull Hundreds of tons of weaponry, ten times the size of the Karine A shipment of 2002, were seized in an overnight raid Tuesday by the Israeli navy, some 100 nautical miles west of Israel, officials said. The ship seized was sailing under an Antiguan flag. The transfer of such large amounts of weapons, "is done in order to create a balance of terror with Israel," said Brigadier General Rani Ben-Yehuda, deputy commander of the Israeli navy, at a press conference. Defense officials said the 140-meter long Francop,, captured near Cyprus, was carrying arms sent by Iran and destined for Syria and Hizbullah. After several days of the Israeli military monitoring the ship, Navy Seals boarded it in the middle of the night. Suspicions were raised after the Seals uncovered certificates within containers that documented Iran as the point of origin for some containers, with Syria as the intended destination. Upon receiving permission from relevant authorities, including the political establishment, the seals commandeered the ship and brought it to Israel. Once on its way to Israeli shores, Israel apprised the government of Antigua and the company that owns the ship of the situation, said the officials. After leaving the Bandar-Abbas Port in Iran, the cargo was shipped through the Suez Canal, unloaded at the Mediterranean Port of Damietta in Egypt and then loaded onto the ship that was captured by the navy. The intended destination was the port Latakia in Syria, with the contents of the shipment to be sent to Hizbullah, they said. The ships' crew was unaware of the weapons on board, as the armaments were disguised as humanitarian aid. "This is the third time this year that Iran is disregarding international law and United Nations National Security resolutions that forbid it to transfer weaponry," Ben-Yehuda said. He went on to say that the Navy regularly conducts operations hundreds of miles from Israel's shores to inspect ships suspected of carrying illegal weapons from Iran being sent to terror proxies like Hizbullah and Hamas. Israel Radio reported that advanced anti-aircraft platforms never before found in the region were also on board. The Francop is currently docked in the Ashdod port, and being unloaded for further inspection. Ben-Yehuda said that there was regular intelligence indicating that Iran was continuing to support terror groups with large amounts of weapons aimed at being used against Israel. Furthermore, it was likely that additional shipments from Iran would be shipped, he said. The containers were owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines Group, or IRISL, the military said, adding that aach container contained sacks, filled with 25 kilos of silicon, made by the Natural Petrol Company in Iran. Upon opening the containers used for smuggling the weapons, only the sacks were visible, but behind the sacks lay weapons. The weapons included 107-millimeter rockets, 60-millimeter mortars, 7.62-rifle Kalashnikov-ammunition, F-1 grenades and 122-millimeter Katyusha rockets. On the side of some of the cases inside the containers the words "parts of bulldozers" was written. Ben-Yehuda called the shipment "very advanced weaponry". He added that even though the Iranian containers were loaded at port of Damietta in Egypt, the Egyptians were totally unaware of the ship's contents. A month ago, Der Spiegel reported that the US Navy had boarded a German cargo ship near the Suez Canal that was carrying ammunition from Iran to Syria or Hizbullah. In the past year, the Navy intercepted several vessels suspected of illicitly carrying munitions intended for Israel's enemies.