April 12, 2014
The shipment of weapons seized by the Israeli occupation army on Wednesday was intercepted near the Eritrean coast near Hasmat port, a source from the Eritrean opposition said.
The source, who refused to be named, told Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper that the ship “was not heading towards Gaza, but towards the weapons storages in Eritrea and then to the Houthis in Yemen”.
The source said that, “despite the fact that relations between Iran and the Eritrean government are excellent, the relations between Eritrea and Israel do not allow them to risk the interception of an Iranian ship carrying arms sent to Gaza”, adding, “the strained relations between Iran and Hamas in light of their positions regarding the Syrian regime does not make it seem likely for Iran to send weapons to Gaza.” The source also said, “The Israeli announcement of the ship’s directions aims to pressure Iran in terms of the nuclear issue.”
The source ended the statement saying: “There is close cooperation between Israel and the government in Asmara and the Israelis have been present in the Eritrean islands in the Red Sea, where the Iranian weapons are stored, for a long time.”
In the same context, Israeli sources expressed their predictions regarding Israel releasing the 17 crew members who sailed the ship and the missiles from Iran toward Sudan unaware of the ship’s cargo.
The crew are of different nationalities, including Turkish, Azerbaijani, Georgian and Panamanian. The ship was flying the Panamanian flag and, according to Israeli sources, after questioning the crew, they found there were no links between the crew and the cargo of rockets.
Israeli security sources said the crew have not been classed as detainees and are cooperating with the Israeli naval vessels and are guiding the ship to the port of Eilat without any serious problems. Therefore, they are expected to be released immediately after the ship is unloaded. The ship will not be detained and will be allowed to continue its journey.
Source: Middle East Monitor