Jerusalem, Israel --- 03/05/14 ... The Israel News Agency (INA) reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a series of security consultations prior to approving the IDF action that began this morning (Wednesday, 5 March 2014).
The INA states that after the seizure of the ship, the Prime Minister spoke with Israel Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and Mossad Director Tamir Pardo and praised them for the quality intelligence that led to the action and for the precision with the operation was carried out.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "I would like to commend the IDF, the intelligence services of the State of Israel and – of course – the navy commanders and personnel who carried out a perfect operation to intercept a secret Iranian weapons ship. At a time when it is talking to the major powers, Iran smiles and says all sorts of nice things, the same Iran is sending deadly weapons to terrorist organizations and is doing so via a ramified network of secret operations in order to send rockets, missiles and other deadly weapons that will be used to harm innocent citizens. This is the true Iran and this state cannot possess nuclear weapons. We will continue to whatever is necessary in order to defend Israel's citizens."
The Israel News Agency reports that the M-302 rockets were on route in an elaborate smuggling operation orchestrated by Iran. Manufactured in Syria, the rockets were flown to Iran, then shipped from its Bandar Abbas port to Iraq to cover their tracks and loaded onto the civilian cargo ship destined for Sudan. From there, they were to be smuggled overland through Egypt to the Gaza Strip said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.
Israel forces intercepted the ship, the KLOS C, in international waters off the shores of Sudan and Eritrea, 1,000 miles from Eilat, Israel's southernmost point and only Red Sea port, Lerner said.
The Israel News Agency states that the M-302 rockets have a range of up to 100 miles and would have significantly improved the capabilities of Gaza terror organizations, putting nearly all of Israel in their range.
Joel Leyden contributed to the above news report.