Elite Israeli commandos seize missile shipment bound for Gaza. The Israeli commandos seized the ship which carried dozens of B-302 missiles with a maximum range of 125 miles. The missile is similar to the ones that targeted Israel eight years ago during the Second Lebanon War. The raid was executed by the elite Shayetet-13 naval commando team similar to the U.S. Navy Seals.
According to a spokesman for the elite Israeli commando team Shayetet-13 who stated with certainty that Iran was responsible for the missile shipment. The elite Israeli commandos seized the ship, which flew under a Panamanian Flag, in the Red Sea in the waters close to Sudan. The ship first tried to fool the elite Israeli commandos by first heading in the direction of Iraq and then changing course to Sudan. The Israeli’s claim the missiles were intended for terrorist networks in Gaza. They were to be taken ashore in Sudan and smuggled through the Sinai Desert to Gaza.
The United States intelligence services and military worked with Israel to track the ship carrying the B-302 missiles to Gaza according to the French new agency ATP. White House spokesman Jay Carney admits the United States worked with Israeli intelligence and military agencies as soon as they knew of the existence of the shipment. The Israelis claim they had been gathering intelligence for months proceeding the commando raid. According to the Israeli’s the B-302 missile shipment was first flown to Iran from Syria and then shipped to Iraq to hide their tracks. The Israeli’s believe that the 17 crew members of the ship probably had no idea that the cargo that that they were carrying consisted of the deadly missiles intended for terrorist organizations. The ship was interred at the Israeli port of Eilat. The Israeli’s have indicated that the crew would be released and the weapons unloaded.
The B-302 is a surface to surface missile of Syrian origin that was first brought into production in the 1990’s. According to the Israeli’s the main users of the B-302 missile are the Syrian Army and Hezbollah. The B-302 missile has seen a number of improvements and comes in five variations.
The elite Israeli commandos which are designated as Shayetet 13, which in Hebrew means Flotilla 13, are the Israeli Navy’s special forces unit. This unit is considered the finest of any naval special forces found anywhere in the Middle East, but has faced criticism for lacking the operational capabilities of European and American elite naval units. Shayetet 13 who’s expertise includes counter terrorism, intelligence gathering and hostage rescue has fought in nearly every Israeli war as well as other operations. During “Operation Spring of Youth” in 1973 Shayetet 13 made a daring raid in Beirut where they killed several members of Black September, the terrorist group responsible for the massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich in 1972. The missions and identities of the Shayetet 13 personnel are a closely guarded secret in the Israeli military. This is not the first time and probably will not be the last time that that elite Israeli commandos seize missile shipments bound for Gaza.
By John J. Poltonowicz