IDF chief to returning navy commandos after ship seizure: 'There will be many more missions'

Benny Gantz tells soldiers that the IDF's ongoing struggle is to prevent strategic weapon's buildup that can hurt Israel.

March 9, 2014 06:34
2 minute read.
Gantz IDF

IDF Chief Gantz with soldiers, March 9, 2014.. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)


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IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz met Saturday with the navy commandos who took part in the interdiction of a ship found to be carrying a weapons shipment from Iran bound for Gaza, and told them that there would be many more missions to come.

Three days after being raided by the navy in the Red Sea, some 150 kilometers from Port Sudan and 1500 kilometers from Israeli shores, the Klos-C ship docked at Eilat port on Saturday.

"Our struggle to prevent weapons buildup and in particular the building up of weapons of strategic influence is not over now that we have arrived at our home port," Gantz told the returning soldiers. 

"We must prepare our equipment and continue to work; there will be many more missions," he added.

Earlier in the week, an Israeli security source said that not a week passes by without Israel blocking or thwarting an Iranian attempt to transmit arms to terrorist entities threatening Israeli national security. The source said that all of Israel’s intelligence agencies are involved in this effort, the source said, including Military Intelligence’s various units, the Mossad and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

At the center of the global Iranian arms network is the Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps tasked with exporting the Islamic Revolution and comprising thousands of operatives.

Qassem Suleimani heads the organization, and the security source described him as a “skilled mastermind,” working daily to arm Israel’s enemies.

“We are stopping them in many ways,” the source said. Counteractions against the Quds Force can be done by sharing the name of a bank used for the financing of the movement of arms with other countries or by exposing the name of a company that provides components for missiles.

In the case of the M-302 rockets intercepted earlier this week on the Klos-C, Military Intelligence noticed suspicious movements of rockets from Syria eastwards towards Iran, which set in motion an investigation many months ago.

"All of the rockets that were found on the ship represent a security challenge for Israel and for its citizens, but for every bullet and rocket found we have an address," Gantz told the soldiers on Saturday.   

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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