Thursday, November 05, 2009

Israeli Navy intercepts Iranian weapons smuggling ship

From The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4 Nov 2009:

A special Israel Navy force intercepted and boarded a ship 100 miles off the coast of Israel. The ship, carrying the flag of Antigua, was carrying weapons under civilian disguise.



















On Tuesday (November 3, 2009) a special naval force detained and boarded a merchant ship carrying the flag of Antigua about 100 miles west of the coast of Israel.

Following an initial inspection, which determined that it was carrying a significant amount of weapons disguised as civilian cargo, the weapons-loaded ship was directed to an Israeli port so as to enable further searches on board and a detailed inspection of the cargo.

...It should be emphasized that IDF forces and the Israel Navy conduct routine intensive operations for security purposes, in order to combat terror and to prevent arms smuggling on various fronts, and the seizure of the ship was carried out as part of this ongoing routine activity.
The largest ship intercepted by Navy forces was the Karine A vessel in 2002. The vessel carried tons of weapons from Iran intended to reach the Gaza Strip.

Since the conclusion of the Second Lebanon War, Iran has intensified efforts to establish itself as the leader of the radical axis. These efforts are manifested in ongoing, wide-scale weapon transfers to Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas, as well as financial assistance, training and more. By providing hostile factions with these weapons, Iran substantially enhances their capabilities, improving their arsenals both qualitatively and quantitatively.

The Quds Force, which is affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, is responsible for Iran's international operations. The force, which answers directly to the Iranian leader, has developed numerous methods of transferring weapons and supplies, relying on aerial, naval and ground channels.

* * *

President Peres stated: "The IDF today successfully intercepted a ship that was apparently en route from Iran to Syria and Hizbullah. Although all the parties deny it, the entire world is today witness to the wide gap between what Syria and Iran say and what they in fact do.

The actions of Iran and Syria contradict all international law. Both Iran and Syria are continuously arming the terrorist organizations, first and foremost Hizbullah and Hamas, and are clearly working to undermine peace in the Middle East.

The interception of the arms ship is of the highest importance in military terms, but also has political importance. No one can argue with facts. This is an important achievement for the army and for the entire State of Israel."

Background:

1. Events in which Iranian attempts to smuggle arms have been uncovered

  • December 2001 - The Karine A ...
  • December 2003 - January 2004 - The Iranian Revolutionary Guard directed an aerial convoy to transfer weapons and supplies to Hizbullah via Syria. The aerial convoys were disguised as humanitarian aid ...
  • May 2007 - An Iranian train carrying arms (mortar shells, light arms, rocket launchers and ammunition) was uncovered in Turkey....
  • January 2009 - An arms shipment sent by Iran was intercepted and seized in Cyprus
  • October 2009 -The Hansa India, which sailed from Iran ...to Malta where it was seized and found to be carrying bullets and industrial material intended for the production of weapons, seemingly bound for Syria.

2. UN Resolutions limiting Iranian export and arms trade ...

  • UN Security Council Resolution 1737 (December 23, 2006...
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1747 (March 24, 2007...
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1803 (March 24, 2008) ...
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1835 (September 27, 2008) ...
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