Israel's interception of arms ships-Background


The Cypriot vessel Monchegorsk (Jan 2009)

May 2001: The Santorini was intercepted on its way from Lebanon to the Gaza Strip. It contained a large shipment of 40 tons of weapons including Strela anti-aircraft missiles. The shipment also included mortars, rifles and guns, grenades, mines and explosive material, anti-tank RPG-7 missile-launchers, and artillery rockets.

December 2001 – The Karine A vessel, loaded with weapons in Iran, bound for the Gaza Strip, sailed in the direction of Egypt with the intention of unloading its cargo in Egypt. Small fishing boats were meant to pick up the cargo and deliver it to the Gaza Strip. The ship, loaded with rockets, anti-tank rockets, and light arms, was seized on January 3, 2002 by Israeli naval commandos.

 Israel's interception of arms ships-Background

Weapons taken from the Karin A vessel (Photo: IDF Spokesman)

May  2003: The Abu Hasan was intercepted in waters west of Haifa, sailing from Lebanon to Egypt carrying Hizbullah explosives bound for the Gaza Strip. The boat itself was a fishing boat, no doubt used purposefully to disguise its intentions. Cargo contained: a radio-activation system to detonate bombs remotely, CDs of directives on how to carry out suicide bomb terror attacks, five boxes with rocket fuses, and 25 Katyusha rocket detonators.

December 2003 – January 2004 – The Iranian Revolutionary Guard directed an aerial convoy to transfer weapons and supplies to Hizbullah via Syria. The aerial convoys were disguised as humanitarian aid intended for those injured in an earthquake in Bam, a city in southern Iran. The Iranians took advantage of the open airspace by trying to smuggle weapons to Hizbullah while humanitarian aid flights were landing in Iran from all over the world.

May 2007 – An Iranian train carrying arms (mortar shells, light arms, rocket launchers and ammunition) was uncovered in Turkey. The arms were destined for Hizbullah. The Iranians attempted to conceal and disguise the arms in order to avoid suspicion by the Turkish authorities.  

January 2009 – An arms shipment sent by Iran was intercepted and seized in Cyprus after it was found on the Cypriot vessel Monchegorsk which had been leased by the Iranian Irisl shipping company. The cargo was found to include tank, artillery and mortar shells as well as materials to be used for producing rockets.

 Israel's interception of arms ships-Background

Cypriot vessel Monchegorsk (Photo: IDF Spokesman)

October 2009 -The Hansa India, which sailed from Iran flying a German flag was due to unload a cargo of eight containers in Egypt. Following warnings from the German authorities the vessel was not unloaded and continued to Malta where it was seized and found to be carrying bullets and industrial material intended for the production of weapons, seemingly bound for Syria.

 Israel's interception of arms ships-Background

The Hansa India-seized in Malta (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

November 2009 – Roughly 500 tons of weapons, rockets, and missiles was uncovered aboard the cargo vessel Francop flying an Antiguan flag, which was intercepted and brought to the Ashdod port. Thirty-six shipping containers with 500 tons of weaponry were found on the ship disguised as civilian cargo, and hidden among hundreds of other containers on board. An examination of the munitions seized proves conclusively that the source of the arms was Iran.

 Israel's interception of arms ships-Background

The Francop cargo ship, intercepted by the Israel Navy. Inspection of its 
containers, including many marked IRISL (Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping
Lines) revealed munitions and rockets concealed behind ordinary cargo
(Photos: IDF Spokesperson)

Arms smuggling to the Gaza Strip

 Israel's interception of arms ships-Background