The Muqata has a summary of a Special IDF press conference for bloggers just half an hour ago that the IDF intercepted the Victoria bound from Gaza to Syria and found weapons originating from Iran.
According to Muqata’s summary:
Early this morning IDF Naval Commandos from boarded a cargo ship, “Victoria” — a German owned ship, operating by a French Company, flying under a Liberian flag. We had advance intelligence information that this vessel was carrying weapons.
We boarded the ship and the crew complied without any violence. A preliminary search revealed weapons in shipping containers. The Israeli navy is now escorting the boat to Israel where a further, detailed examination of the cargo and the ship will take place.
The ship originated from the Syrian port of Latkia, and also docked in Turkey’s Mersin Port on its way to Alexandria in Egypt. The IDF believes the weapons found on board were destined for Hamas in Gaza.
The ship’s crew apparently had no idea there were weapons in the shipping containers, and the IDF doesn’t believe that Egypt or Turkey were connected.
The current operating analysis is that Syria and Iran are the major actors, cooperating to send weapons to Hamas.
It has not yet been revealed what kinds of weapons were found on the ship.
Israel Matzav was at the conference also, and suggests a possible connection between the weapons and the Iranian ships that recently passed through the Suez Canal:
Lt. Col. Leibovich did not know whether the weapons were connected to the Iranian warships that passed through the Suez Canal three weeks ago. But given that those ships sailed to Latakia - and then went right back through the Canal - this is a distinct possibility.
More details will be forthcoming.
Anyone who recalls the incident of the Karin A, knows that this is not the first attempt to smuggle weapons to terrorists. In addition to the Karine A, there have been a number of previous instances-including incidents involving the Santorini, Abu Hassan, the Hansa India, the Monchegorsk, the Francop and Everest cargo vessels. These were involved in what were otherwise innocent transnational commercial shipping which was abused by States that sponsor terrorism, including Iran, Syria and Lebanon, all done in order to facilitate the illegal trafficking of arms to terrorist organizations in the region. Check out: Israel’s interception of arms ships - Background
If nothing else, today’s incident demonstrates the necessity for Israel’s legal blockade of Gaza, to prevent weapons being delivered to the Hamas terrorist group.
UPDATE: Here are some photos of what the IDF found aboard the Victoria: