Newspaper article International New York Times

Israel Seizes Ship It Says Held Arms from Iran for Gaza ; Leaders Gain Chance to Stress What They Call Tehran's True Nature

Newspaper article International New York Times

Israel Seizes Ship It Says Held Arms from Iran for Gaza ; Leaders Gain Chance to Stress What They Call Tehran's True Nature

Article excerpt

Israeli officials said that the crew of 17 on the civilian vessel had cooperated with the Israelis and seemed unaware of the vessel's contents.

Israeli naval commandos intercepted and boarded a civilian ship in the southern Red Sea early Wednesday, preventing an attempt to smuggle an Iranian shipment of advanced rockets destined for Gaza, Israeli officials said.

The ship, identified as the Klos-C, was seized in international waters off the coast between Eritrea and Sudan, about 1,000 miles from the port of Eilat, Israel's most southern point. It was carrying Syrian-manufactured M-302 rockets with a range of about 100 miles, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military.

The seizure took place without violence; Israeli officials said the ship's 17 crew members had cooperated with the Israelis and seemed unaware of the vessel's contents. The ship, which was also carrying civilian cargo, was flying under a Panamanian flag. The ship was escorted toward Eilat, where it is expected to arrive in the next few days. The Israeli military distributed video footage and photographs of rockets it said were found on board.

The apparent intelligence and operational coup provided Israel's leaders with an opportunity to underscore their arguments about the true nature of the Iranian regime at a time when the world powers are engaged in talks with Iran to curb its nuclear program.

"At a time when it is talking to the major powers, Iran smiles and says all sorts of nice things, the same Iran is sending deadly weapons to terrorist organizations," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on a visit in the United States, said in a video statement.

Iran is doing so, he said, "via a ramified network of secret operations in order to send rockets, missiles and other deadly weapons that will be used to harm innocent citizens."

"This is the true Iran and this state cannot possess nuclear weapons," he added. "We will continue to do whatever is necessary in order to defend Israel's citizens."

Israel's defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, said, "It has once again become clear that Iran continues to be the greatest exporter of terror in the world, with the express purpose of destabilizing the Middle East. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.