Israel has carried out dozens of attacks against Iranian ships throughout the Middle East, a report in Maariv claimed on Friday.
According to the story by veteran military correspondent Tal Lev-Ram, a recent story in the Wall Street Journal about a dozen Israeli attacks against Iranian ships ferrying oil to Syria was only “partial” and that Israel’s naval operations against Iran are “deeper and more thorough” than previously reported.
Until the report in the WSJ last week, Israeli operations against Iranian attempts to entrench itself in Syria were believed to be carried out solely by the Israeli Air Force alongside some special covert operations. The IAF reportedly carries out routine airstrikes against Iranian targets throughout the country. Earlier this week, such an attack was reported against a weapons shipment near Damascus.Maariv quoted sources claiming that the Israeli attacks against Iranian vessels have led to an approximately $1 billion loss to Hezbollah over the last three years. Hezbollah receives about $900 million annually from Iran to help fund its operations and procurement of weaponry.
Naval operations are such that they are meant to be carried out without leaving behind any sign that Israel was involved. It is assumed that Iran knows who is behind the attacks against it vessels which are either damaged in explosions or experience other mysterious malfunctions.
Nevertheless, the Iranians are believed to have their hands tied. If they blame Israel for the attacks they will be confirming that they are running illegal oil deliveries in violation of international sanction regimes imposed on the Islamic Republic due to its continued development of a nuclear capability.
According to the Maariv report, the attacks at sea are aimed at preventing the transfer of sophisticated weapons from Iran to Syria and Hezbollah, especially components that could help the Lebanese-based terrorist organization proceed with its plan to turn its arsenal of tens of thousands of rockets into precision guided munitions.Israel also wants to try and prevent Hezbollah from obtaining advanced anti-ship missiles from Iran like the Yakhont which it used successfully to strike the INS Hanit during the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
The second objective, the paper said, was to wage “economic war” against Iran and to stop the transfer of oil to Syria which is then traded for cash used to finance Hezbollah's hostile activities, aimed at Israel.