Israel Seizes Ship Loaded With Arms and Headed to Egypt – NYTimes.com

Israeli naval commandos intercepted and commandeered on Tuesday a cargo vessel en route from Turkey to Egypt that was loaded with weaponry, Israeli officials said.Military officials said that the ship, which was flying a Liberian flag, had sailed to Turkey from Syria. They said it was not clear where the weapons were loaded, but the assessment was that they were bound for Gaza, the Palestinian coastal enclave controlled by Hamas.The military noted in a statement that Turkey “was not tied to the incident in any way.”Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he authorized the operation in the early hours of Tuesday morning because Israel had a “solid basis” to believe there were weapons on board that were “destined for use against Israel.”The interception took place outside Israeli territorial waters 200 nautical miles west of the coast and was in accordance with international maritime law, he said.

Hamas has largely maintained an uneasy ceasefire in Gaza since the end of Israel’s three-week military offensive there in January 2009, which came after years of persistent rocket fire from Gaza against southern Israel. But smaller groups have continued sporadic rocket and mortar attacks, and Israeli military officials have stated repeatedly that Hamas has been building up and upgrading its weapons stocks.

via Israel Seizes Ship Loaded With Arms and Headed to Egypt – NYTimes.com.

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