US military chief confirms interception of Gaza-bound Iranian arms ship

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said Jan. 28 the US Navy had intercepted a Cypriot-flagged ship in the Red Sea last week and searched it with the captain’s permission for Iranian arms bound for the Gaza Strip.
This Iranian arms ship was first revealed exclusively by debkafile on Jan. 20 and tracked further on Jan. 23 and Jan. 25. Click HERE.
The Navy had done all it could do legally but was not authorized to seize the weapons,” said Mullen, adding he would like authority to act in such cases. The vessel was expected in port in Syria this week, he said.
debkafile‘s military sources disclose that it is bound for Latakia, where It will dock alongside the Russian guided missile destroyer Admiral Chabanenko. After the US Navy allowed it to continue its voyage through Suez, the Iranian vessel’s captain called Tehran for instructions and was told to proceed to this Syrian port and unload its arms consignment for Hamas, including a fresh supply of rockets. Entering the Mediterranean on Jan. 26, the Iranian ship found three waiting armadas – Israeli warships, the US Sixth Fleet and the Chabanenko. They all stayed close to the vessel – each with its own agenda: The first two blocked its access to the shores of Gaza, while the Russian destroyer kept watch for developments. But there were no further developments because, as Adm. Mullen complained, there are no international mechanisms authorizing its seizure.
Speaking to reporters in Washington the American admiral said he had long favored approaches to Iran. “To the degree that we are able to dialogue with them, find some mutual interests, there is potential there for moving ahead together,” he said. He then added cautiously: “Iran is unhelpful in man, many ways in many, many areas, so I wouldn’t be overly optimistic at this point.

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