Israeli officials claim to have intercepted a Gaza-bound ship containing a variety of rockets and other weapons. Although the vessel appeared to be a civilian cargo ship, the Israel Defense Forces claimed that the weapons onboard were an Iranian shipment to terrorist organizations in Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu echoed the military’s claims that Iran orchestrated the shipment of weapons.
“Israel captured a ship on the high seas, stocked with weapons destined for terrorist groups. These weapons were going to be used against Israel. The entire clandestine operation was organized by Iran. While Iran is conducting these talks, smiling to the international community, it continues to arm terrorist groups, it continues to perpetuate terrorism around the world. Such an outlaw regime must not be allowed to have the means to make atomic bombs,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Israel, of course, is almost continuously at odds with its surrounding neighbors. When Israeli intelligence makes one claim, much of the nearby Arab world usually refutes it. Such is the case with the recent interception of weapons.
According to CNN, deputy foreign minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian claimed “this allegation is merely based on repetitious and baseless fabrications of the Zionist media.”
According to the Washington Post, the ship is expected to arrive in the Israeli port Eilat in three days. The ship has 17 crew members.
The interception of weapons comes at a time when Iran has been more cordial with the UN and Western powers than in recent history, and it will be interesting to see how the United States responds to the incident.