'We have obligation, right to stop ships smuggling arms'

Netanyahu confirms he gave order to take over 'Victoria' ship from Iran; Barak congratulates Flotilla 13 commandos on successful operation.

March 15, 2011 14:57
1 minute read.
PM Netanyahu at Egyptian border fence

PM Netanyahu at Egyptian border fence 311. (photo credit: Avi Ohayon / GPO)


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said that he gave the order on Monday night to board and take over the freight ship Victoria based on firm intelligence information that was it was carrying arms from Iran to Gaza.

During a tour of the security fence being constructed on the border with Egypt, he said the ship had stopped over in Syria and Israel had the "obligation and right to stop ships smuggling arms."

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IDF seizes freighter of Iranian weapons headed to Gaza

Netanyahu said that more information about the ship and what it was carrying would be released tomorrow.

"The seizure was made at sea according to international laws. We updated all the relevant countries and the international community," he added.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak congratulated Israeli Navy's Flotilla 13 commandos on the successful operation during which they took control of the ship with dozens of tons of weaponry from Iran headed for Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Barak closely followed the Victoria ship's movements in recent days with other IDF commanders.

Barak said Tuesday that "the IDF and navy fighters prevented the smuggling of weapons into the Gaza Strip which were intended to be used against the residents of Israel."

"The purpose of smuggling [these weapons] was to harm the security of Israel and the IDF fighters acted to protect national security," the defense minister said.

"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.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) said Tuesday that "there are those who are exploiting the unrest in the world in order to transfer weapons to terrorist organizations who try to harm us."

There is a campaign to delegitimize Israel. The same people who are responsible for transferring weapons to the area are also responsible for sending the killers to Itamar," Livni added.

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