Israel seized missile-carrying ship in the Red Sea

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Originally published on March 5, 2014

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Israeli naval forces raided a ship in the Red Sea on Wednesday and discovered dozens of medium-range missiles hidden on board.

Special forces from the Shayetet 13 intercepted a Panama-flagged ship named KLOS C on early Wednesday and seized the shipment which contained dozens of M-302 rockets.

According to Haaretz, the Syrian-made rockets were flown to Iran from Damascus. They were then loaded on the KLOS C, which then sailed north to Iraq. Upon intelligence, Israeli authorities believed that the rockets were put in cements bags as concealment. It then set off for Sudan and was seized about 1500 kilometres off the Israel's south coast.

Israeli authorities believed that if not for the raid, the cargo ship would unload the rockets in Sudan, which would then be shipped to Gaza Strip via Sinai.

Syrian-made M-302 rockets have a 160-kilometre range, which Israeli authorities said can allow Gaza militants to hit targets in the whole country. Gaza militants had been relying on the homegrown M-75 missiles, which can only hit targets within 80 kilometres.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now visiting the United States after the AIPAC policy conference, said Iran had been transferring weapons to militants and facilitated the spread of terrorism around the world.

"At a time when Iran is talking with world powers, is smiling and uttering pleasantries, it is also sending deadly weapons to terrorist organizations -- via an elaborate network of secret operations around that world that aim to funnel rockets, missiles and other deadly weapons to be used to harm innocent civilians,'' Netanyahu said. "This is the real Iran, and this country must not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons. We will continue to do everything we must to protect the citizens of Israel."

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