Israel Navy Diverts Heavy Weapons Cargo from Palestinians
The San Torini, captured yesterday, was one of the Lebanese smugglers’ boats Israeli navy missile boats accosted opposite the Israeli coast before it reached Gaza with many tons of water materiel for Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority. The dozens of long-range Katyusha rockets and anti-air Strella missiles, as well as the masses of mortar shells, mines, grenade-launchers and ammunition, would certainly have extended the Palestinians’ military reach against Israeli military, civilian and aerial targets. However, more than one such arms boat from Lebanon has certainly succeeded in running the Israeli blockade in the past five months to reach Mediterranean waters opposite Gaza, there to drop the tarred barrels with their waterproof-sheeted weapons, for the tide and Palestinian frogmen to carry ashore.
Three months ago, debkafilefirst exposed the clandestine Lebanon-Gaza shipping route that smuggled weapons in tarred barrels for Arafat’s war against Israel. We reported on the agreements negotiated last summer by the late Masoud Ayyad, colonel in Yasser Arafat’s elite Force 17, for the Hizballah to become the Palestinian Authority’s main arms supplier and provider of training facilities. We also reported on the Israel Navy’s underwater battle against this gunrunning route. A month ago, the IDF disclosed that 40 such barrels were picked up in Gazan waters.
debkafileis therefore quite surprised by the showy publication of the San Torini’s capture and, above all, wonders about its timing.