Israel complains to UN on 'Victoria' arms smuggling

Grievance filed with Security Council says attempted transfer of weapons from Iran to Gaza via Syria violates multiple UN resolutions.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
March 19, 2011 07:30
1 minute read.
The Victoria followed by Navy speedboat

Victoria Raid 311. (photo credit: IDF)

 
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Ambassador to the UN Meron Reuben on Friday filed an official complaint with the Security Council following the seizure of weapons from the cargo ship Victoria earlier this week.

The complaint stated that the attempt to transfer weapons from Iran to Gaza by way of Syria constituted a violation of a number of Security Council resolutions.

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The Israel Navy seized the cargo vessel early Tuesday morning in the Mediterranean Sea. It was carrying advanced weaponry, including anti-ship missiles that could alter the balance of power in the region.

Israel believes the weaponry originated in Iran and was destined for Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

In an operation called “Iron Law,” Israeli navy missile boats approached the Victoria cargo ship late Monday night as it passed some 320 km. off Israel’s coast. One of the vessels reached the captain on the radio and asked for permission to board.

Once he gave permission and began lowering a ladder, a number of speedboats carrying several teams of commandos from Flotilla 13 – known as the Shayetet – closed in.



The commandos did not encounter resistance when boarding the ship and were given the cargo certificates indicating that 39 containers had been loaded in the Syrian port of Latakia.

According to the certificates, the containers were supposed to be carrying cotton and lentils, but when the commandos pulled out the first row of sacks they found crates of mortar shells and advanced anti-ship missiles.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday saud that "the purpose of smuggling [these weapons] was to harm the security of Israel and the IDF fighters acted to protect national security."

"The attempt to smuggle weapons into Gaza shows that there are radical forces who continue to try and harm Israel and undermine stability in the region," he continued.

Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon contributed to this report

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