Navy vessel
Gaza arms shipment intercepted
Navy foils Gaza arms smuggling attempt after opening fire at suspicious vessel
Cleared for publication: The Navy thwarted an Independence Day attempt to smuggle a few hundred kilograms of standard explosive materials from Egypt to the Gaza Strip.


The story was cleared for publication Tuesday.


A special Navy underwater unit brought 13 sacks up from the depth of the sea, containing the explosives.


Colonel Yoram Lax, commander of the Ashdod region Navy, told Ynet that the incident began when an Israeli Navy vessel was patrolling the area between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and noticed a sea vessel that was traveling from the direction of Egypt towards the Gaza Strip.


"It was decided to carry out an arrest of a suspicious vessel, including firing close to the vessel. The vessel entered an area filled with shipping boats in an effort to disguise itself," Colonel Lax said.


The ship's commander noticed that two people on board the vessel began throwing objects into the water, but as a result of the many fishing boats in the area, it was decided not to open fire at the boat in order to avoid endangering innocent fishermen.


The area in which the sacks were thrown was marked and the Navy dispatched an underwater robot to 32 meters below the surface to check what was in the sacks.


A lab check found that the white powder was not a drug, but rather, standard explosives much desired in the Gaza Strip and used by terror organizations.


Navy divers pulled the sacks up to the surface on Tuesday. Colonel Lax praised the work of the Navy vessel, which he said thwarted terror attacks. He also said the decision not to open fire at the suspicious vessel as it was near fishing boats was "moral and correct."


Since IDF forces withdrew from Gaza in September 2005, a number of sea-based smuggling attempts have been thwarted.


In December 2005, the Navy sunk a Palestinian fishing vessel after firing at it. The Navy said an attempt to smuggle arms or a wanted suspect from Egypt to Rafah was thwarted.


פרסום ראשון: 05.09.06, 15:59
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