Israel Navy Snags Another Smuggling Ship
By BARBARA OPALL-ROME
Published: 18 Mar 2011 20:31
tel aviv - The Israel Navy's seizure last week of Iranian C704 anti-ship missiles and other munitions marked the latest in the escalating, yet still indirect, tit-for-tat confrontations between Jerusalem and Tehran.
The nonviolent intercept of the Liberian-flagged Victoria container ship, and its estimated 50-ton concealed arms cache, occurred some 380 kilometers off Israel's southern coast. The incident again demonstrated the long arm of Israeli intelligence and Israel's readiness for maritime operations following the bloody, botched takeover of a Gaza-bound Turkish ship last May.
The successful seizure of Iranian weaponry - Israel's fourth in a decade - also was a sweet reward for security officials here, who stood by in frustration as the Iranian Navy tested the post-Mubarak Egyptian waters with its first Suez Canal passage in more than 30 years.
Israeli officials said the ship carrying Iranian-produced, Chinese-designed C704 missiles, 120mm mortars and other munitions was headed for the Egyptian port city of Alexandria. From there, the cache was to have been transported through the Sinai and into Gaza via underground tunnels along the Gaza-Egyptian border.
Israeli intelligence said the cargo was loaded at the Syrian port city of Latakia, sailed to Cyprus, then Beirut and then to a port in southern Turkey before Israel Navy commandos intercepted it en route to Alexandria.
"Iranian arms flowing into Gaza are not coming in drip by drip but wave by wave," Danny Ayalon, Israeli deputy foreign minister, told diplomats invited to Israel's Ashdod port to view the confiscated contraband.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel's battle against the axis of Iran, Syria and Lebanon-based Hezbollah - each working to support terror groups in the Gaza Strip - would continue "by air, sea and land in every place and from every direction, both near and far."
The C704s would have introduced a new capability into the Gaza theater of operations that would have required the Israeli military to modify its operating and protective procedures, given the missile's 35-kilometer range.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Chinese-designed C704 on display....for all the wrong reasons.
Posted by Coatepeque at 5:30 PM