There is more on this story today:
IDF Navy Seizes Ship Filled With Arms on way from Syria to Egypt
This afternoon, the IDF announced that the Victoria, a German owned, French operated and Liberian flagged vessel, was apprehended 200 miles off the Israeli coast by the IDF Navy. It was carrying arms from the port of Latakia in Syria to Alexandria in Egypt via Turkey. The IDF Navy fighters, in an operation reminiscent of earlier ship seizures, met with no resistance.
The assumption is that the arms were intended for the Hamas in Gaza and would reach them via the smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
The ship and crew have been towed to an Israeli port for continued questioning and inspection. 3 crates of arms were found on the deck and the inspection of the remaining hundreds of crates in the ship's cargo is expected to reveal that this was merely the tip of the iceberg.
Brigadier General Avi Bnayahu, the IDF spokesperson, said to Israel Army Radio "apparently we will find more evidence of the Iran, Syria, Hezbollah axis".
The MInistry of Foreign Affairs announced: This attempt at smuggling large amounts of weaponry aboard the Victoria provides additional proof of Israel’s imperative need to examine all goods entering the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Photos of Intercepted Weapons from Syria to Gaza
Anti-Ship Missiles Found on Hamas-Bound Boat
Six advanced anti-ship missiles, sent from Iran and shipped from Syria, were part of the weapons cargo seized on the "Victory" ship Tuesday morning, the IDF says. All of the weapons on board will be dislayed at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
A preliminary list of weaponry and weaponry systems discovered includes:
230 mortar shells, 120 mm
2,270 mortar shells, 60 mm
6 C-704 anti-ship missiles
2 radar systems manufactured in England
2 hydraulic mounting cranes for radar system
66,960 bullets for the Kalashnikov, 7.62 millimeter
And all for one single purpose: To kill as many Israeli citizens as possible. Period.
The C-704 shore-to-sea missiles have a range of 35 kilometers and according to assessments, their intended destination to Gaza would have constituted a significant gain in the weapons capabilities of terror organizations operating there.
The missiles could have been used to sink Navy ships and private boats in the ports of Ashkelon and Ashdod.
Now comes the link to Iran:
The identification document for the anti-ship missiles was in Persian and contained emblems of the Iranian government. The ship left from the Syrian port of Latakia before stopping in Turkey to make its way to Egypt. The IDF estimates that Egypt and Turkey had no prior knowledge of the weaponry.
Below is an excellent analysis of this ongoing situation:
Analysis: Israel's shadow war against Iran
Israel waged war against Iran on Tuesday. No Iranians were present and not a single shot was fired, but make no mistake – the seizure of the Victoria cargo ship is part of Israel’s battle against Iran, one that is fought in the shadows and sometimes in the most unlikely places.
When the commandos from the navy’s Flotilla 13 approached the ship under cover of darkness late Monday night, they still did not know what to expect. Only as they made their final approach toward the ship, some 320 km. west of Israel, did Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu give his final approval to board the vessel.
In such cases, the risk is huge, and for this reason the Foreign Ministry was on standby with officials ready to contact Germany and Liberia. A German company owns the ship, and it was flying a Liberian flag.
It really is "Israel against the World" isn't it?
Behind a row of sacks, they found what they were looking for: crates of mortar shells, and then the real prize – the C-704 anti-ship missiles.
The C-704 is an anti-ship missile made in China and used by Iran, which calls it the Nasr. Like surface-to-air missiles, the C-704 is the type of weapon that Israel fears could shift the balance of power in the region and undermine its operational freedom.
But while the discovery is impressive and was the result of major intelligence and operational efforts, it is just another chapter in the larger covert war that Israel is waging against Iran and its terror proxies throughout the Middle East, and joins a long list of similar special operations that have taken place in recent years
The battle against Iranian arms shipments to Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas is extremely complicated and involves unprecedented coordination between Israel and its allies, primarily the United States
Despite the efforts, arms are still getting through and into the hands of terrorists:
For Iran and Hamas, the seizure of the Victoria is a major blow. But it will not stop Iran from trying other ways to get advanced weaponry to its proxies, such as Hamas and Hezbollah. In many cases, Iran has succeeded.
Of course they will. There has to be arms in the hands of Israel enemies in order for the final battles to take place; the battles described by the biblical prophets which will occur in the last days - days that we appear to be approaching at an ominously rapid speed.