How Naval commando 13 seized the 'Francop'

From Karine A to Francop: The biggest arms seizures in the last decade

By
November 5, 2009 23:25
1 minute read.
francop 248.88

francop 248.88. (photo credit: AP)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The seizure of the Francop cargo ship on Tuesday night joins a long and mostly secret list of missions credited to the Israel Navy's elite commandos from Naval commando 13. While most of their operations are hidden from the public, navy commandos have played a key role in all of Israel's recent conflicts, including the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last winter.

On Tuesday night, the commando teams waited on a small, fast patrol boast as the INS Eilat, one of the navy's Sa'ar 5-class corvettes, blocked the Francop's course as it made its way toward Lebanon filled with hundreds of tons of weaponry en route from Iran to Hizbullah. After Cmdr. Ziv, commander of the Eilat, received permission from the Francop's captain to board the freighter, he radioed the commandos and gave them the green light to close in.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


A senior IDF officer said on Thursday that two ships were used since the navy was not absolutely certain that there were not armed men aboard the Francop. For this reason, the Sa'ar 5-class ship was deployed; it has greater firepower than some of the navy's smaller vessels.

The commandos scaled ropes and climbed aboard the ship without encountering any resistance. They lined up the crew and, while several sailors kept an eye on them, others searched the cargo containers until they discovered the weaponry.

The last operation in which Naval commando13 is known to have participated was during the 2006 war, when a team entered the Lebanese coastal town of Tyre in an attempt to capture a senior Hizbullah operative and take out some of the group's long-range missile capability.

The commando was also behind the capture of the Karine A arms ship in the Red Sea in 2002, as its made its way to bring weaponry to terrorists in the Gaza Strip. During the second intifada, the elite unit participated in ground operations as well, and was credited with the capture and killing of several senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists.

One of the concerns during the Tuesday night interception and seizure was the possibility that some of the containers were booby-trapped. "We took all the necessary precautions," said Ziv.

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

By SHARON UDASIN