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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Israel Navy boards cargo ship off Mediterranean coast

Members of Israel's elite Shayetet 13 naval unit have boarded the Liberian-flagged HS-Beethoven 160 miles off the Mediterranean coast and are searching for arms allegedly being smuggled to Gaza.
Searches were still ongoing and IDF officers said that they could continue until Monday morning.

The IDF said that the boarding was part of a routine patrol although its route was likely what raised Israeli alarms regarding the possibility that it was carrying weapons for either Hamas or Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

The HS Beethoven left Beirut on April 20 and was scheduled to arrive in Alexandria, Egypt on Monday evening. Prior to stopping in Lebanon, it had stopped in in Limassol, Cyprus. If the ship was carrying arms, they were likely planned to be smuggled into Gaza via tunnels located along the Philadelphi Corridor between Gaza and Egypt.
More here.

Last March, Israel intercepted another Liberian-flagged vessel and found 50 tons of arms headed for Gaza. More here and here.

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