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IDF intercepts Iranian weapons ship bound for Gaza

JTA

March 5, 2014 | 10:07 am

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (R) and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz (L) watch as the army take over a missile on an intercepted ship in the Red Sea. ( Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense/Flash90)

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (R) and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz (L) watch as the army take over a missile on an intercepted ship in the Red Sea. ( Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces intercepted an Iranian ship laden with weaponry and bound for terrorist organizations in Gaza.

The interception took place Wednesday morning off the Somali coast in the Red Sea. IDF intelligence showed that the weapons originated in Damascus months ago and were flown to Tehran, after which they were sent on a ship around the Persian Gulf and into the Red Sea. The ship, called the Klos-C, was a civilian vessel, and the weapons crates were hidden among commercial cargo.

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Ganz ordered the special forces interception operation Tuesday night. The weaponry included advanced missiles capable of reaching Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest cities.

The Israeli Navy is now accompanying the ship to an Israeli port.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the operation and said that it reveals Iran’s violent intentions. Netanyahu has advocated increasing international pressure on Iran as Iran negotiates with Western powers over its nuclear program.

“I would like to commend the IDF, the intelligence services of the State of Israel and –- of course –- the navy commanders and personnel who carried out a perfect operation to intercept a secret Iranian weapons ship,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “At a time when it is talking to the major powers, Iran smiles and says all sorts of nice things, [and] the same Iran is sending deadly weapons to terrorist organizations.”

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