Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Israel Navy Uncovers Weaponry on-board Cargo Vessel

Today, the Israeli Navy intercepted the cargo vessel "Victoria" loaded with various weaponry. The vessel, flying under a Liberian flag, was intercepted some 200 miles west of Israel's coast. This incident was part of the Navy's routine activity to maintain security and prevent arms smuggling, in light of IDF security assessments.

The force was met with no resistance from the crew on-board.

The vessel is now being led by the Israeli Navy to an Israeli port for further searches and detailed inspection of the cargo.

The vessel was on its way from Mersin Port in Turkey to Alexandria Port in Egypt.

According to assessments, the various weaponry on-board the vessel was intended for the use of terror organizations operating in the Gaza Strip.
Official responses note that Turkey is not tied to the incident in any way.

Israel alerted Germany authorities about the interception of the "Victoria" due to the German ownership of the ship. In addition, the government of Liberia, whose flag it was flying under, was notified, as well as France, due to the French shipping company.

The vessel's crew and content is being transferred to an Israeli port for questioning and further inspection.

The Israeli army is continuing its intelligence and operational activities in order to maintain Israel's security interests and prevent arms smuggling that will fuel the terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

Since 2001, there have been repeated attempts to smuggle weapons under the guise of legitimate commerce, using ships, flags and ports of blameless countries. A record of previous attempts can be found at http://bit.ly/ArmsShips .

Netanyahu stated that "we had a solid basis that onboard the ship was weaponry destined for use against Israel. Considerable weaponry – which was destined for terrorist forces in the heart of Gaza – was found onboard the vessel. The operation was carried out at sea in accordance with all international rules. The weaponry originated in Iran, which is trying to arm the Gaza Strip."

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