According to shipment documents and crew questioning, the vessel initially departed from the Lattakia Port in Syria, and then proceeded to Mersin Port in Turkey. The IDF emphasizes that Turkey has no connection to this incident regarding the weaponry uncovered on-board.
A short while ago, IDF Navy fighters intercepted the cargo vessel “Victoria” loaded with various weaponry. According to assessments, the weaponry on-board the vessel was intended for the use of terror organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. The vessel, flying under a Liberian flag, was intercepted some 200 miles west of Israel’s coast. This incident was part of the Navy’s routine activity to maintain security and prevent arms smuggling, in light of IDF security assessments.
The force was met with no resistance from the crew on-board and the vessel is now being led by the Israeli Navy to the Israeli port in Ashdod for further searches and detailed inspection of the cargo.
The vessel was on its way from Mersin Port in Turkey to Alexandria Port in Egypt. The IDF would like to note that Turkey is not tied to the incident in any way.
The operation was approved as necessary in accordance with government directives in light of the Chief of the General Staff’s recommendations.
Earlier this morning, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz updated the Minister of Defense, Mr. Ehud Barak, about the findings on-board the vessel.
The IDF and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs alerted about the interception of the “Victoria” to the German authorities, due to the German ownership of the ship. In addition, the government of Liberia, whose flag it was flying under, was notified, as well as France, due to the French shipping company.
The operation was under the command of the IDF Navy Commander, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Marom, and the interception was under the command of the Navy Special Forces Commander.