50 Tons of Smuggled Weapons SeizedMarch 16, 2011 - 11:55 AM | by: Yonat Friling
The “Victoria”, The ship seized by Israel allegedly en route from Iran to militants in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday contained tons of weapons include six C-704 anti-ship missiles in ready-to-be launched containers, was presented today to the International press.
The Israeli Army has displayed the weapons that were recovered from the ship, an estimated amounts of some 50 tons,that were hidden in three massive containers beneath cotton bags and lentils produced in Syria.
The ship’s cargo included: 230 mortar shells 120 mm, 2,270 mortar shells 60 mm, 6 C-704 anti-ship missiles, 2 radar systems manufactured in England, 2 launchers, 2 hydraulic mounting cranes for the radar system and 66,960 bullets for AK-47 rifles. All weapons had labels and manuals in Farsi , which links Iran to the arms smuggling attempt.
Israeli Deputy Navy Commander Rear Admiral Rani Ben-Yehuda also linked the 2 Iranian ships that crossed the Suez Canal a few weeks ago to the current arms smuggling attempt. Military Intelligence sources told Fox News that the Iranian ships might have transported cargo to Syria, and that the Cadets on board the two ships helped unload in into the Victoria. Security sourced also revealed to Fox News that had they reached Gaza, the missiles would have threatened Israeli sea-based strategic installations and navy vessels.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, along with Defense Minister Ehud Barak examined the weapons in the Israeli Port of Ashdod. Both have vowed to “smash the Syrian-Iranian axis of terror”. ”Every day there are efforts by Iran, Syria and terrorist organizations to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “There is an axis of terror in our region, and we have to confront it if we want to prevent terrorism and create a chance for peace.”
“We prevented something dangerous,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said. “This is weaponry that could have impacted our navy ships and gas fields.”
“I have no doubt that the other side will continue trying, but we will continue fighting,” Barak added.
The commander of the Iranian army has rejected Israel’s claim that the ship it seized on Tuesday was smuggling weapons from Iran to militants in Gaza, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported on Wednesday. “Israel is a regime made of lie, making lies and fabrications,” Major-General Ataollah Salehi told IRNA. “The Zionist regime will drown in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, God willing, after the collapse of the Egyptian pharaoh.”
This is not the first time that Israel has seized a ship carrying concealed weapons. In November 2009, the Israel Navy seized the “Francop” cargo ship, which was carrying 500 tons of weaponry from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon – including Katyusha rockets and grenades.
In 2003, the Israeli military seized the “Karine A”, a vessel with 50 tons of missiles, mortars, rifles and ammunition destined for Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.