The Israeli Navy said on Wednesday that its commando units had interdicted a suspected Iranian shipment of advanced weapons in the Red Sea. The shipment was said to had been destined for Gaza-based terrorist organizations. The claim was refuted by Iran.
The commandos boarded a Panamanian flagged cargo vessel carrying stocks of 40 M-302 surface-to-surface missiles, with a range of up to 160 kilometres.
The Israeli Defense Minister Moshe “Boogie” Yaalon briefed the U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Israel’s interdiction operation on March 6, according to a press release of the U.S. Armed Forces Press Service.
“Secretary Hagel made clear that illicit actions by Iran are unacceptable to the international community and in gross violation of Iran’s U.N. Security Council obligations,” the release added.
The Defense Department and the Israeli Defense Ministry have been in consistent touch on Israel’s interdiction operation, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said, coordinating extensively through military and intelligence channels.
“The secretary and the minister pledged to continue this close consultation as Israel completes its final inspection of the vessel,” he said, “and reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-Israel defense relationship.”
As reported by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson, the rockets were transported from Damascus to Tehran, from where they were transferred to the port of Bandar Abbas, their final destination being the city of Eilat.
The Panama-flagged KLOS C was escorted to Eilat by Israeli navy ships where the shipment was unloaded from the vessel.
Naval Today Staff, March 10, 2014; Image: AFP PHOTO/DAVID BUIMOVITCH