by Aryeh Ben Hayim
The Victoria, a German owned, French operated and Liberian flagged vessel, was apprehended 200 miles off the Israeli coast by the IDF Navy. It was carrying arms from the port of Latakia in Syria to Alexandria in Egypt via Turkey. The IDF Navy fighters, in an operation reminiscent of earlier ship seizures, met with no resistance. The assumption is that the arms were intended for the Hamas in Gaza and would reach them via the smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
Brigadier General Avi Bnayahu, the IDF spokesperson, said to Israel Army Radio "apparently we will find more evidence of the Iran, Syria, Hezbollah axis". The official announcement claimed that there was no Turkish involvement in the shipment, provoking speculation that Israel was cautious not to further inflame its troubled relations with the AKP Islamic Party government of Turkey.
The IDF pledged to continue its intelligence and operational activity to protect Israeli security and prevent an arms injection that would empower terror in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.
Aryeh Ben Hayim
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