The arms cache said by Israel to have been sent from Iran and intercepted by Israeli forces would have placed millions of Israelis in the line of fire had they fallen into the hands of Gazan terror groups, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said this evening.
“This operation thwarted a significant threat to Israeli citizens,” Ya’alon said. “Those missiles that have been uncovered would certainly have threatened millions of Israelis had they reached the Gaza Strip.”
Israeli naval commandos from the elite Shayetet 13 unit boarded and took control of the “Klos-C” merchant ship, sailing under the Panama flag, at around 5 a.m on Wednesday morning.
On board, the army, said soldiers found several dozen advanced Syrian M-302 missiles, with a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) and a payload of up to 170 kilograms (375 pounds). The missiles were hidden in shipping containers also carrying sacks of concrete.
Aside from stopping a major threat, officials said the operation had also helped expose covert Iranian activities at a time when much of the world was beginning to soften toward the regime in Tehran.
Speaking at a press conference in Tel Aviv alongside IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, Ya’alon praised the troops for their efficiency, and warned that the arms shipment attests to Iran’s continued endorsement of terror.
“Iran is the number one exporter of terror in the world,” Ya’alon said.
Iran was supplying arms to terror groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Asia, and South America, the defense minister charged.
“It must be known that despite the smiles, the Iranian regime has not changed, nor have its actions changed,” he added.
Those who believe the Iranian regime underwent a reformation with the election of President Hassan Rouhani will “learn a lesson” from the findings, Ya’alon said. The discovery not only incriminates the Islamic Republic, he charged, but it also proves once again that Gaza is a “terrorist entity, an Iranian branch, that is financed, armed and trained by Iran.” Read more at The Times of Israel.