Israeli naval forces raided a cargo ship in the Red Sea Wednesday, which lead to the interception of “advanced” weapons bound for Gaza.
The KLOS C, a Panamanian-flagged ship was stopped 1,000 miles south of Israel, off the coasts of Sudan and Eritrea, The Associated Press reported.
The 17 crew members of the ship seemed oblivious to the contents of the cargo they were transporting, but are being taken back to Israel for questioning, the BBC said.
Israeli Defense Forces say the weapons were identified as an Iranian shipment of Syrian-made rockets. Footage released by the Israeli military show crates containing the weapons lined with bags marked by the words "Made in I.R. Iran."
"At a time when it talks with the world powers, at a time when Iran is smiling and saying all sorts of pleasantries, that same Iran is sending lethal weapons to terror organizations and it is doing it with an elaborate network of covert global operations with the aim of streaming rockets, missiles and other lethal weapons to harm innocent civilians,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this week to a number of defense officials in the U.S. according to the AP.
Israeli officials say the weapons were intended for "terrorist organizations" working in Gaza, CNN reported. The IDF said Iran was doing everything in its power to conceal its involvement with the weapons, which they said is probably why the weapons were not Iranian made.
"Iran trains, funds and arms terror groups in the region and around the world and its failed attempts to transfer the arms that were discovered this morning is more proof of that," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told the AP.
Hamas has denied involvement in the shipment saying that the story is Israel’s attempt to validate the blockade of Gaza, the BBC reported. But Israel says it will hold Hamas responsible for any and all attacks from Gaza.
"We will continue to employ all the necessary means in order to prevent the armament of terrorist organizations and will combat the Iranian smuggling attempts that threaten the security and sovereignty of the state of Israel," IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said, according to CNN.