Israeli navy intercepts arms-laden ship en-route

The Israeli navy intercepted an Egypt-bound ship, suspected of carrying weapons for Hamas.

Jerusalem: The Israeli navy on Tuesday
intercepted an Egypt-bound ship, suspected of carrying weapons
for Hamas fighters in Gaza, an official spokesperson said.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson said the
ship `Victoria` originated from the Lattakia port in Syria and
sailed to Mersin, Turkey. It was seized in the Mediterranean
Sea while on its way to El-Arish port in Egypt.

Elite troops from the Shayetet 13 Naval Commando unit
took control over the vessel, which was carrying "various
weaponry", without any struggle when it was around 200
nautical miles off Israel`s coast and towed it to the Israeli
port in Ashdod.

"The operation was approved as necessary in accordance
with the government directives in light of Chief of the
General Staff Lt Gen Benny Gantz`s recommendations," the IDF

"The IDF and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs alerted
German authorities about the interception of the Victoria due
to the German ownership of the ship."

The Israeli army said that the contents of the ship
will be thoroughly examined and its crew will be taken in for

Although the ship had set sail from Turkey, it bore a
Liberian flag.

Turkey is not responsible for the seized ship "in any
aspect," the IDF said.

Earlier, the Israeli Navy had seized the Karine A, a
vessel carrying 50 tonnes of missiles, mortars, rifles and
ammunition headed for Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip
in 2003.