An Iranian weapons shipment to Gaza was blocked on Wednesday morning by the Israel Defense Forces from reaching terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF, in what has been dubbed “Operation Full Disclosure” on Wednesday prevented an attempt to smuggle a sophisticated Iranian weapons shipment to Gaza for use against Israeli civilians.
On Tuesday evening, the official IDF blog announced, “following extensive preparations, and on the government’s authorization, the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, ordered the Israel Navy to intercept the Klos-C, upon which the illicit arms were hidden. IDF special naval forces boarded the vessel, in accordance with International Law, and carried out a preliminary inspection of the cargo.”
“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,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated. “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 and is doing so 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. We will continue to whatever is necessary in order to defend Israel’s citizens.”
“The IDF and Israeli intelligence’s interception of the vessel successfully prevented the smuggling of these weapons whose ultimate purpose was to target Israeli civilians and disrupt life in Israel,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared.
“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,” Ya’alon continued. “This, while in complete violation of international law and abuse of open maritime trading routes. Iran supplies financial support, arms and training to terror organizations in the region and around the world, and its failed effort to transfer the weapons discovered this morning is additional evidence. The Iranian regime continues to deceive the world; while it shows its smiling face, it continues to be the biggest threat to world peace.”
IRANIAN WEAPONS SHIPMENT ‘ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE’ OF IRAN’S COMPLICITY IN TERROR
“This Iranian attempt to transfer weapons to the Gaza Strip is additional evidence that Gaza is a terrorist entity under Iranian auspices preparing to strike deep into Israel,” Yaalon asserted.
“At this time, IDF forces are searching the shipping containers on board the Iranian vessel and questioning the crew, who do not appear to have been aware of the vessel’s contents,” he said.
“We will continue to act responsibly and with prudence, and take all necessary measures at our disposal to ensure the security of Israel’s citizens,” the IDF blog said, adding the Israeli military operation “was possible due to the combination of in-depth intelligence and enhanced operational capabilities.”
A government press briefing reports that already several months ago, IDF intelligence identified a transfer of M-302 rockets en route from Damascus to Tehran. The most advanced among them had a range of up to 200 km.
“The rockets were being flown from the International Airport in Damascus to Iran in a move carefully orchestrated by the [terrorist] Quds force. This was an unusual event,” the briefing notes, “as usually such transfers take place from Iran to Syria, not vice versa.”
The shipment was then moved to Bandar Abbas Port in southern Iran and subsequently loaded onto a civilian vessel, the KLOS-C, which is the “same port used to load up the Francop, another ship involved in an Iranian weapon smuggling attempt in 2009,” according to the news update.
“From Bandar Abbas, the KLOS-C sailed to Umm Qasr Port in Iraq. It was loaded with more containers, all holding bags of cement – another attempt to complete the falsification and obscure the Iranian connection.
“The ship then headed towards Port Sudan but was intercepted by Israeli naval forces, including missile ships and the Naval Commando, who boarded it in the Red Sea. Were it not for that, the ship would have docked in Port Sudan and the rockets would have been transferred via land, through the Sinai Peninsula and directly to the hands of terror organizations in the Gaza Strip.”
SHIPMENT OF IRANIAN WEAPONS NOT FIRST ATTEMPT AT SMUGGLING ARMS TO GAZA
The government communication affirms that this was not Iran’s first attempt at smuggling weapons, elaborating on several examples, including naval smuggling efforts in January 2002, January 2009, November 2009 and March 2011 as well as land attempts in January and April 2012.
As for airborne attempts, “the Iranians have long been using the aerial route to Lebanon in order to smuggle weapons to the area in a quiet and discreet way. For over a decade, the Quds Force and Revolutionary Guard have been shipping weapons to Syria, primarily through the companies Iran-Air, Mahan-Air and the government-owned company Maaraj-Air. Since the fighting in Syria began, Iran has been delivering weapons on an almost weekly basis.”
“The IDF will continue to operate against the Iranian attempts to arm regional terrorist organizations who intend to continuously ignite our borders,” IDF Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner stated. “We will continue to employ all the necessary means in order to prevent the armament of terrorist organizations and will combat the Iranian smuggling attempts that threaten the security and sovereignty of the State of Israel.”
Author: Atara Beck, Staff Writer, United with Israel
Date: Mar. 5, 2014