Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Israeli military forces today seized a ship claimed to be carrying weapons bound for the Gaza Strip.
The ship, a German-owned and Liberian-flagged freighter named Victoria, had departed from a port in Syria before travelling to Turkey, from where it departed for Alexandria, Egypt. A French company had chartered the vessel, which was intercepted and boarded by Israeli commandos about 200 miles from shore while in international waters.
Victoria was reportedly boarded without incident, and is being taken to Ashdod, a port city in Israel. Three containers of weapons were found on board the ship, though the type or total number are unknown. A further inspection of the cargo will be carried out once the ship reaches Ashdod.
According to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, “[o]n the boat we discovered many weapons destined for terror groups in the heart of Gaza.” He also claimed that Iran was responsible for shipping the weapons, saying that “[t]he only certain thing is the source of the weaponry was Iran, and there was a Syrian relay station as well.”