Israel Navy intercepted a massive arms shipment from Iran en route to the Hezbollah in Lebanon
From the IDF Spokesperson, 4 nov. 2009: You can read the original article here!
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. The Israel Navy force which intercepted the ship included naval commandos, missile boats, intelligence and explosive experts.
36 shipping containers with 500 tons of weaponry were found on the ship disguised as civilian cargo, and hidden among hundreds of other containers onboard.
Israel Naval and Engineering Corps forces are currently unloading the containers and are sorting through the various types of weaponry found aboard.
The naval commando force boarded the vessel and conducted an initial search. The search was conducted in accordance with the usual search protocols as dictated by International Law.
Following the initial search and after it became clear that the vessel was carrying weapons, the vessel was directed by the Israel Navy to dock at the Israeli Ashdod Naval base for additional searches and a detailed inspection of the hull’s cargo. It should be emphasized that the captain of the ship agreed to the search. The Israel Navy conducted all activity without any force.
The weapons found onboard the ship originate from Iran, and were intended for the Hezbollah terror organization, for use against the State of Israel and its citizens. The weapons uncovered at sea last night constitute a harsh violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1747 and 1701 that strictly forbid Iran from exporting or trading any form of weapons.
This is a well-known Iranian technique, taking advantage of cargo ships flying different flags in order to smuggle containers loaded with large amounts of highly volatile weaponry to terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah.
Following the necessary inspections of the boat, it is expected to be released.
The overnight operation was authorized by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense of the State of Israel. Commander of the Israel Navy, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Marom, commanded the operation from a forward command cell. The IDF Chief of the General Staff authorized the operation, after the confirmation of intelligence information gathered by the IDF.
1. List of past Iranian attempts to smuggle weapons to terrorist groups
From the IDF Spokesperson, 4 nov 2009: You can read the original article here!
December 2001 – The Karin A ship, loaded with weapons in Iran, bound for the Gaza Strip, was sailing towards Egypt with the intention of unloading its cargo there. 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 3rd, 2002 by Israeli Naval Commandos.
December 2003 – January 2004 – The Iranian Revolutionary Guard directed an aerial convoy to transfer weapons and supplies to Hezbollah via Syria. The aerial convoys were disguised as humanitarian aid intended for casualties of an earthquake in Bam, a city in southern Iran. The Iranians took advantage of the open airspace by trying to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah 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 intended for Hezbollah. 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.
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.
2. UN Resolutions limiting Iranian export and arms trade
UN Security Council Resolution 1737 (December 23, 2006):
“Decides that Iran shall not export any of the items in documents S/2006/814 and S/2006/815 and that all Member States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran.”
UN Security Council Resolution 1747 (March 24, 2007):
“Decides that Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related material, and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran.”
UN Security Council Resolution 1803 (March 24, 2008)
“Calls upon all States, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, in particular the law of the sea and relevant international civil aviation agreements, to inspect the cargoes to and from Iran of aircraft and vessels, at their airports and seaports, owned or operated by Iran Air Cargo and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, provided there are reasonable grounds to believe that the aircraft or vessel is transporting goods prohibited under this resolution or resolution 1737 (2006) or resolutions 1747 (2007);”
UN Security Council Resolution 1835 (September 27, 2008)
“Reaffirms the statement of its President, S/PRST/2006/15, of 29 March, and its resolution 1696 (2006) of 31 July 2006, its resolution 1737 (2006) of 23 December 2006, its resolution 1747 (2007) of 24 March 2007, and its resolution 1803 (2008) of 3 March 2008…”