'Enough weapons for month of war with
Israel' - Israel seizes massive arms shipment bound for
A ship seized by the Israeli
navy near Cyprus today had been carrying enough weapons
and munitions for the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist
group to fight Israel for at least one month, announced
Rani Ben-Yehuda, the deputy commander of Israel's
The cargo ship originated in Iran and was headed for Syria, the
Israeli army said. Iran regularly attempts to send weapons to
Syria, and from there the shipments are smuggled to Hezbollah
bases in Lebanon, Israeli security officials said.
Ben-Yehuda told reporters at a press conference today the ship
had been carrying 40 containers filled with 300 tons of weapons
each, all meant for Hezbollah to pose a threat to Israel. He
said the shipment was much bigger than the famous Karin-A, a
Palestinian freighter caught by Israel in 2002 carrying 50 tons
of weapons to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Ben-Yehuda said the Antigua-flagged ship was first detected
during a routine patrol, although Israeli security sources told
WND the ship was flagged earlier. In coordination with NATO
ships, the Israeli navy first boarded the ship about 100
nautical miles west of Israel.
The ship's crew were questioned and a request for a closer
inspection was presented to them. Israeli naval seals found
documentation showing Iran was the point of origin for some
containers, with Syria as the intended destination. Upon closer
inspection, the Israeli navy found several containers of
weapons, including rockets.
After the initial search, the naval gun ships towed the
freighter to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where the army here
conducted a thorough inspection of the cargo, revealing vast
quantities of weapons, the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Radio reported that advanced anti-aircraft platforms
were also on board, although Ben-Yehuda did not confirm it.
Still, Ben-Yehuda called the shipment "very advanced
Ben-Yehuda refused to divulge whether Israel had any prior
intelligence regarding the ship's cargo, saying that "we have
ongoing intelligence indicating that Iran is continuously
supporting Hezbollah and other organizations with massive
quantities of weapons."
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned today's shipment was
just a small part of Iran's efforts to arm Hezbollah.
He stated, "Tonight we seized a ship that smuggled arms to the
terrorist zone in the south. Iran, via its proxies Hamas,
Hezbollah and others, is trying to hurt the heart of the
civilian population in Israel.
"With what we know of the arena, there will be more attempts
(to smuggle weapons), and we must invest efforts to thwart
them. At night, we dealt with thwarting (arms smuggling), and
in the morning we continue our efforts to achieve peace," Barak
In a visit to Iran, Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem
dismissed Israeli allegations the ship carried arms.
"Unfortunately, some pirates sometimes take action in the name
of inspection and prevent the sailing of commercial ships," he
was quoted as saying by the state IRNA news agency during a
visit today. "This ship was carrying goods from Syria heading
to Iran and was not carrying weapons making
It was unclear why Moallem said the ship departed from Syria
when Israel said it departed from Iran and headed to