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Israel to bring seized ‘Iran weapons ship’

Israel intercepted the ‘Klos-C’ in the Red Sea, claiming that Syrian-made weapons aboard had been shipped overland to Iran

Published: Updated:

A ship Israel said was carrying advanced rockets bound for Gaza from Iran will be brought into port Saturday after being intercepted by Israeli naval forces, Agence France-Presse reported the military as saying.

“This ship, which was transporting dozens of M302-type rockets with a range of 150 to 200 kilometers (more than 100 miles) is currently north of Port Sudan and will arrive in Eilat Saturday evening,” General Motti Almoz told military radio Thursday.

“Once it arrives we will check that other arms and munitions aren’t aboard,” he said.

Israel intercepted the “Klos-C” in the Red Sea between Eritrea and Sudan on Wednesday, claiming that Syrian-made weapons aboard had been shipped overland to Iran and then onward by sea, intended for Palestinian militants in Gaza.

Israel latched onto the alleged weapons shipment to chide Western powers for negotiating with Tehran over its nuclear program.

However, on Thursday Iran rejected Israeli allegations that Tehran supplied rockets intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip.

“This allegation is not true and in principle the message or movement of a ship carrying weapons from Iran to Gaza is not true,” Amir Abdollahian, Deputy Foreign Ministry for Arab and African Affairs said, according to official state news agency IRNA.

“The allegation is merely based on repetitious and baseless fabrications of the Zionist media,” he added.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iran’s military arm which answers directly to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei rather than to the president, has also rejected the reports, according to IRNA.

Israel has long accused Iran and Syria of providing military aid to Hezbollah and to Palestinian militant groups, and the military spokesman’s office tweeted that the ship was carrying weapons “capable of striking anywhere in Israel.”

Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam television channel quoted a military official in the Islamic republic as denying the Israeli report, calling it “totally without foundation.”

(With Reuters and AFP)