'U.S. Navy hunting down Iran ships sent to rearm Hamas in Gaza'

Discussion in 'Israel and Palestine' started by toomuchtime_, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. toomuchtime_

    toomuchtime_ Gold Member

    Dec 29, 2008
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    A United States naval taskforce has been ordered to hunt down weapons ships sent by Iran to rearm its Islamist ally Hamas in Gaza, The Sunday Times reported.

    Quoting U.S. diplomatic sources, the British daily said that Combined Task Force 151, which is countering pirates in the Gulf of Aden, has been instructed to track Iranian arms shipments.

    The intelligence community in Israel believes that Iran intends on rearming Hamas after the Israel Defense Forces' recent offensive in Gaza seriously depleted the Islamist militant group's arsenal.

    Israel launched the 22-day offensive late last month against Hamas in Gaza to try to permanently halt years of militant rocket fire on growing numbers of Israelis and to halt the smuggling of arms that turned Hamas into a threat to much of southern Israel.

    Last week, the U.S. military intercepted and searched an Iranian-owned ship that officials feared was carrying arms to Hamas, but two officials said it was unclear Thursday whether those suspicions were founded.

    The Cypriot-flagged commercial vessel was tracked by a U.S. Navy ship in the Red Sea over the weekend, one official said. It was boarded and searched with the consent of the vessel's crew on Monday and Tuesday, said another.

    The Sunday Telegraph also quoted "well briefed sources" as saying that a second arms smuggling route into Gaza has also been used by Tehran. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard has sent shipments through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean to anchor off the Gaza coast, inside Egyptian territorial waters, where the Israel Navy is barred.

    On Sunday, Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told the cabinet that Hamas would resume smuggling arms into Gaza within a few months, despite Israel's destruction of many tunnels used for this purpose during the campaign.

    'U.S. Navy hunting down Iran ships sent to rearm Hamas in Gaza' - Haaretz - Israel News
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