Early on Wednesday morning, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced that it blocked a ship carrying advanced weapons from Iran to Palestinian militants in Gaza, suggesting that Iran and Israel aren't going to bury the hatchet any time soon.
In a typically irreverent tweet, the IDF's social media team created the hashtag #iranfail while saying they had intercepted the rockets:
Military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said naval forces boarded the Klos-C cargo vessel in international waters in "a complex, covert operation," that occurred roughly 1,000 miles from the Israeli coast. The ship will be taken to the Eilat port within a few days, and Israeli officials say they do not suspect the 17-member crew was aware of the cargo.
According to Reuters, the operation, codenamed "Full Disclosure," uncovered a number of powerful weapons:
Dozens of M302 rockets were found aboard the Klos-C, a weapon which could have struck deep into Israel from Gaza and would have significantly enhanced the firepower of Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas.
Lerner explains that "the M302 in its most advanced model can strike over 100 miles, and if they would have reached Gaza, ultimately that would have meant millions of Israelis under threat." The 100-mile range would put both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv at risk of attack. According to Lerner a months-long operation codenamed "Full Disclosure" tracked the weapons' movement. He explains that the rockets were made in Syria and then sent to Iran. Iranian operatives then shipped the weapons to Iraq, then toward Sudan, and finally via ship to towards the Gaza Strip.
On Twitter, the IDF posted a video detailing the operation:
According to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, the weapons were "strategically important." Yaalon adds, "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 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been outspoken in his opposition to the nuclear deal temporarily struck between the U.S. and Iran. Most recently, he spoke out against the rival country during a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington, D.C.
And he again called Iran a terrorist regime in commenting on the operation. He said:
While Iran is conducting these [nuclear] talks, smiling through the international community, it continues to arm terrorist groups, continues to perpetrate terrorism around the world. Such an outlaw regime must not be allowed to have the means to make atomic arms.
Violence along the Gaza border has been on the rise lately. Just yesterday, an Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinian men and injured two children in Gaza in what Lerner called the elimination of a "real-time threat." One of the men killed, Musab Zaanin, 25, was affiliated with the military wing of the militant Islamic Jihad group.