Yesterday we learned that the commando unit of the Israeli navy recently took control of a cargo ship that was on its way to supply Hamas in Gaza with heavy rockets courtesy of Iran. Two organisations were behind the scenes of this operation.
The first was the Israeli intelligence service and the second the Israeli airforce (IAF). While the operations of the intelligence services can be only imagined, the movements of the IAF can be assessed more accurately.
Aerial platforms of different types played a major role in this successful operation, in which the Israeli navy intercepted an Iranian arms smuggling ship near Port Sudan early on Wednesday. The ship was carrying dozens of long-range M302 rockets to Gaza.
The crew of the Klos – C is in Israeli custody, and the ship is being towed by the navy to its Eilat base, where it is expected to arrive in the coming days.
The rockets originated in Syria, according to military intelligence assessments. Iran flew the rockets to an Iranian air field, transported them by trucks to a sea port, and shipped them to Iraq, where they were hidden in concrete sacks.
The ship then sailed to Port Sudan, near the Sudanese-Eritrean border, on a journey expected to last some ten days. All along this twisted route Israeli “eyes” were on the ship day and night. The crew did not know that they were not alone on the high seas.
The ship was0 located and followed by some very advanced Israeli aerial systems. These are varied, and may have included manned and unmanned platforms.
A day before it reached its destination, the Israeli navy raided the ship and brought it under its full control. There were no injuries in the incident.
In similar operations in the past, the IAF was the first to detect such ships on the high seas, following them and relaying real-time data to those that have to make the final decision and give the order to board the vessel.
As the ship was raided far from Israel it can be assumed that the IAF is supplying a defensive “net” until it docks at the navy base in Eilat. This net probably includes long-range sensors to detect any possible threat and systems that can handle such threats.
The IAF was in the background on this occasion but still performed a crucial function that enabled the commandos to board the ship at the right time, and then ensured the vessel’s safe passage to the Israeli port through a region full of potential dangers.