Israeli naval commandoes on Wednesday raided a cargo ship near Sudan, confiscating a cargo of dozens of advanced missiles that were making their way to Hamas-ruled Gaza.
The shipment of B–302 missiles, each with a range of up to 200 kilometers (124 miles), would have significantly increased Hamas’ ability to threaten Israel’s population centers.
The raid took place during the predawn hours in international waters between Sudan and Eritrea. Army officials said the ship’s captain tried to throw off the Israelis by first heading toward Iraq, before correcting his course.
There were no casualties on either side, and the ship’s crew of 17 was taken in for questioning, while the ship itself, the Klos C, was sailed back to Eilat where its cargo could be safely unloaded.
The shipment of missiles is believed to have originated in Syria, possibly part of a Syrian stockpile that Iran is trying to redistribute to other allies. The missiles were then flown to Iran, where they were loaded on the Klos C hidden in sacks of cement. From Iran, the cargo was to make its way by sea to the Port of Sudan, and then be smuggled into Gaza via the Sinai Peninsula.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon issued a statement shortly after news of the raid broke:
“It has once again become clear that Iran continues to be the greatest exporter of terror in the world, with the express purpose of destabilizing the Middle East. …The Iranian regime continues to deceive the world; while it shows its smiling face it continues to be the biggest threat to world peace. …This Iranian attempt to transfer weapons to the Gaza Strip is additional evidence that Gaza is a terrorist entity under Iranian auspices preparing to strike deep into Israel.”
A statement by army officials suggested coordination with foreign intelligence agencies, the most likely candidates being America and Egypt. The new regime in Cairo has made itself an enemy of Hamas, and would have wanted to prevent the missiles from reaching the terror group via Egyptian soil.
Watch footage of Israeli soldiers uncovering the missile shipment:
Watch a short video prepared by the IDF showing the origin of the missiles and the attempted method of smuggling them into Gaza: