'Iran weapons ship' arrives in Israel

A ship that was seized by Israeli commandos, and which is allegedly carrying rockets from Iran to militants in Gaza, has arrived in Eilat.

The Klos-C cargo vessel (B) approaches the port of Eilat

A ship allegedly carrying rockets from Iran to Gaza has arrived in the Red Sea port of Eilat. (AAP) Source: SBS

A ship allegedly carrying advanced rockets from Iran to Gaza that was intercepted by the Israeli navy has arrived in the Red Sea port of Eilat.

Israeli naval commandos seized the vessel on Wednesday in the Red Sea between Eritrea and Sudan, with the military saying it was carrying an Iranian shipment of M-302 rockets destined for the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

The Panamanian-flagged Klos-C was escorted into Eilat port by two Israeli warships.

Thousands of Israelis gathered on a hill overlooking the port broke into applause when the ship came into view.

"We will dismantle all the containers to verify if they contain other weapons," an army spokesman said on Saturday, adding that a news conference will be held at the end of operations late on Monday.

Israeli radio said that ambassadors and military attaches posted to Israel as well as "prominent Israeli figures" would be invited to view the weapons seized by the army.

This, the radio said, "will prove to the world that Iran is providing weapons to terrorists active in the Gaza Strip".

Iran has flatly denied any involvement with the shipment, which the Israeli army said was carrying missiles capable of striking anywhere in Israel.

At the time of the vessel's capture on Wednesday, military spokesman Brigadier General Motti Almoz told army radio that dozens of the M-302 long-range missiles were on board.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Israel of lying and noted that the announcement of its capture coincided with a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the AIPAC pro-Israeli lobby in the US.

"An Iranian ship carrying arms for Gaza. Captured just in time for annual AIPAC anti Iran campaign. Amazing Coincidence! Or same failed lies," Zarif wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

2 min read
Published 9 March 2014 at 5:52am
Source: AAP