victoria ship weapons gallery10.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Victoria cargo ship that was seized by navy commandos on Tuesday filled with
Iranian weapons may have been destined for Hamas or other terrorist
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“Hamas does not fire rockets into Israel and gets very
upset when other organizations do it, even though there is little it can do,” a
senior IDF officer said.
A power shift in the Gaza Strip began after
Operation Cast Lead and following Hamas’s decision to suspend its military
operations against Israel. Islamic Jihad did not agree with the decision and has
continued to attack Israel on a regular basis.
In 2010, for example, some
200 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were planted along the Israeli-Gaza
border by Islamic Jihad. In most cases, the IEDs – some antipersonnel and others
against armored vehicles – were found in groups of three and
Islamic Jihad is also behind the recent rocket attacks against
Israel, including the two Grad-model Katyusha rockets that struck Beersheba last
The weapons aboard the Victoria were supposed to be unloaded at
the Egyptian port of Alexandria and transferred into the Gaza Strip via the
hundreds of tunnels that are scattered under the 14-kilometer strip of land
known as the Philadelphi Corridor.
The IDF is concerned that Iran, Hamas
and Islamic Jihad are looking to take advantage of the current regime change in
Egypt by establishing new terror and smuggling infrastructure in the Sinai
The arms aboard the Victoria were likely supposed to serve as
one of the first tests of the new infrastructure.
At the same time,
however, the Egyptians are continuing to operate against smuggling in the Sinai
and along their southern border with Sudan, where the military recently
intercepted a number of trucks trying to smuggle ammunition into
The Egyptians have completed about 80 percent of a steel
underground wall along the Philadelphi Corridor which goes some 15 meters down
and has made it more difficult for smugglers to dig tunnels. Work on the wall
was recently suspended due to the upheaval in Egypt, but the IDF is confident
that it will be renewed soon.