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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Liveblog of bloggers' briefing with Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, Head of the Foreign Press Branch, about capture of Victoria weapons ship

Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, Head of the Foreign Press Branch, has confirmed to a group of bloggers that early on Tuesday morning, IDF fighters boarded the Victoria at sea some 200 miles out from Israel. The Victoria is a German-owned vessel, operated by a French operating company, and flying the Liberian flag. Although Lt. Col. Leibovich did not say which IDF units were involved, other sources have reported that Shayetet 13, the Naval commando unit that was involved in the Mavi Marmara raid last year, carried out this raid as well.

The IDF boarded the ship based on information that the ship might be carrying weaponry. The boarding party opened three containers and found weapons and ammunition in one or more of them. As a result, the Victoris is currently under escort to an Israeli port (previous reports have indicated Ashdod, but our source did not say that), where the cargo will be examined. The ship's crew did not resist the IDF boarding party.

The ship originated out of Latakia, which is in Syria, and also passed through Mersin, which is in Turkey. The IDF believes that the ship's final destianation was Alexandria in Egypt, and from there its cargo would be shipped over land to Gaza.

The IDF believes that that neither Egypt nor Turkey has any connection to the ship's cargo. The evidence it has indicates that Syria and Iran were the main actors.

The IDF will not say yet what types of weapons they found on the ship. But the type of weapons is not important . What is critical is that the ship, which the IDF has tied directly to Syria, was carrying weapons that were headed for terror organizations in Gaza.

The IDF did not notify anyone in advance that it was going to board the ship. The IDF informed the Germans, the French, the Liberians and the Americans only after it had opened the three containers mentioned above. Intriguingly, Lt. Col. Leibovich did not answer when asked whether the Germans and French knew what was on the ships when they were contacted. This raises three possibilities: 1. They didn't know. 2. They did know and had given Israel intelligence information. 3. They did know because they were in on the weapons smuggling. I'd bet on number 2.

Lt. Col. Leibovich did not know whether the weapons were connected to the Iranian warships that passed through the Suez Canal three weeks ago. But given that those ships sailed to Latakia - and then went right back through the Canal - this is a distinct possibility.

Lt. Col. Leibovich did not know whether the crew knew what they were carrying. Others have already reported that the crew did not know.

Curiously, Lt. Col. Leibovich could not say when the boat left Syria. After Lt. Col. Leibovich could not answer that question, we were told that there is information that she cannot share with us right now. That's not surprising.

According to Lt. Col. Leibovich, the most important fact here is that the IDF can draw direct line from Syria to the attempt to smuggle weapons into Gaza. The weapons are Iranian.

I hope to have pictures and video later today. The ship is expected to reach an Israeli port tonight.

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At 3:41 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

If option 2 is correct, then the Euros need to grow a pair and do interdictions against Iran, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Gaza, etc. themselves when Euro assets are involved, rather than leaving it to Israel. If, in fact, there was never a chance that the arms would be delivered and this interdiction was a NATO op, then NATO needs to announce that they've taken sides against the slaughter of Jews. That would be really good news. The Egyptian guy Sandmonkey, listed in one of your other posts as meeting with Elie Wiesel, came out for Gaza... he is the darling of the leftists, so NATO could do a good turn by announcing that Gaza will not be used as a launching spot against Israel, especially not using Euro assets to do it.


At 4:12 PM, Blogger aparatchik said...

IDF "fighters"? "commandos" perhaps, but "fighters"??!

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Carl, there seem to be already pictures available here.


At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, a new trick in the muzzies arsenal! Should we expect to see an entire parade of vessels from different countries flying different flags trying to enable Gaza terrorists with smuggled weapons now? We have got to push these people out of our lands now. While we still can do it. There is plenty of desert for them to kill each other in. Let us drive them out, and isolate them from the general Israeli population. They are solely bent on destroying us and not helping us build our nation. Just an insight. They aren't helping us build, plant or care for our children. They are nothing beneficial to Israel.
Gaza is Israels' also. Why is there not an Israeli military presence in Gaza? There should be no where in our nation where we are not watching them and aware of everything they are doing 24/7. There should be IDF on every street patrolling in the Gaza. Cameras and snitches ready to rat terrorists out for money..We need to make them so uncomfortable in the Golan and Gaza that they prefer the privacy of the desert. And stay there.


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