Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Video of intercepted Hezbollah arms cache (UPDATED)

From the IDF Spokesperson:

Roughly 500 tons of weapons, rockets, and missiles was uncovered aboard the cargo vessel “Francop” flying an Antiguan flag, which was intercepted and brought to the Ashdod port. The Israel Navy force which intercepted the ship included naval commandos, missile boats, intelligence and explosive experts.

36 shipping containers with 500 tons of weaponry were found on the ship disguised as civilian cargo, and hidden among hundreds of other containers onboard.

Israel Naval and Engineering Corps forces are currently unloading the containers and are sorting through the various types of weaponry found aboard.

The naval commando force boarded the vessel and conducted an initial search. The search was conducted in accordance with the usual search protocols as dictated by International Law.

Following the initial search and after it became clear that the vessel was carrying weapons, the vessel was directed by the Israel Navy to dock at the Israeli Ashdod Naval base for additional searches and a detailed inspection of the hull’s cargo. It should be emphasized that the captain of the ship agreed to the search. The Israel Navy conducted all activity without any force.

The weapons found onboard the ship originate from Iran, and were intended for the Hezbollah terror organization, for use against the State of Israel and its citizens. The weapons uncovered at sea last night constitute a harsh violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1747 and 1701 that strictly forbid Iran from exporting or trading any form of weapons.

This is a well-known Iranian technique, taking advantage of cargo ships flying different flags in order to smuggle containers loaded with large amounts of highly volatile weaponry to terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah.

This ship had ten times the weapons that the infamous Karin-A had.

Here are the UN Security Council Resolutions that were violated by this shipment (from an IDF briefing:)

UN Security Council Resolution 1737 (December 23rd, 2006)

A UN resolution determining, inter alia, a limit on export of certain Iranian products and items

-"Decides that Iran shall not export any of the items in documents S/2006/814 and S/2006/815 and that all Member States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran."

UN Security Council Resolution 1474 (March 24th, 2007)

Explicitly forbids all export of arms from Iran (not only to terrorist organizations), without relating to methods of enforcement.

"Decides that Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related material, and that all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran."

UN Security Council Resolution 1803 (March 24th, 2008)

Calls for supervision over the movement of aircraft and naval vessels owned by the companies Iran Air and IRISL (Annexes 11 and 12)

"Calls upon all States, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, in particular the law of the sea and relevant international civil aviation agreements, to inspect the cargoes to and from Iran of aircraft and vessels, at their airports and seaports, owned or operated by Iran Air Cargo and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, provided there are reasonable grounds to believe that the aircraft or vessel is transporting goods prohibited under this resolution or resolution 1737 (2006) or resolutions 1747 (2007);"

UN Security Council Resolution 1835 September 27th, 2008

Reconfirms earlier resolutions dealing with the issue of Iranian exports and arms trading, and calls on Iran to immediately fulfill its obligations as they appear in prior resolutions.

“Reaffirms the statement of its President, S/PRST/2006/15, of 29 March, and its resolution 1696 (2006) of 31 July 2006, its resolution 1737 (2006) of 23 December 2006, its resolution 1747 (2007) of 24 March 2007, and its resolution 1803 (2008) of 3 March 2008…

Calls upon Iran to comply fully and without delay with its obligations under the above-mentioned resolutions of the security council…

UPDATE: I was on an IDF conference call for bloggers where details were being mentioned. Here are some highlights:

The weapons were Chinese and Russian.

There are so many weapons containers that only one third of the contents have been uncovered so far.

They were being hidden in polyethylene that would have made remote scanning impossible.

They included 122mm Katyushas made in Russia with a range of over 40 km. Also 107mm rockets (possibly these.)

All of the weapons were brand new.