The Israeli navy seized a ship in the Red Sea on Wednesday that was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied rockets made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip, the military said.
The Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel Klos C was boarded in international waters without resistance from its 17-strong crew in a "complex, covert operation," military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner told reporters.
Lerner said dozens of M302 rockets were found aboard the Klos C, a weapon which could have struck deep into Israel from Gaza and would have significantly enhanced the firepower of the Palestinian enclave's Hamas rulers and other armed factions.
"The M302 in its most advanced model can strike over 100 miles, and if they would have reached Gaza, ultimately that would have meant millions of Israelis under threat," he said.
Hamas dismissed the Israeli announcement as a "silly joke".
|Alleged path of rockets|
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed as “lies” the recent Israeli allegation that Tehran sought to send missiles to the blockaded Gaza Strip."Basically unfounded?"
“An Iranian ship carrying arms for Gaza captured just in time for the annual AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) anti-Iran campaign. Amazing Coincidence? Or same failed lies,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also stated that the allegation that a ship was en route to Gaza from Iran with advanced rockets is basically unfounded.
Israeli Defense Force report here:
Interesting use of new media by both sides.