Assassinations in the Smuggling Paths

When dealing with Iranian weapons smuggling in Gaza, Israel's actions are constrained politically and militarily.

Published: April 10th 2011
in News » Israel

A Qassam rocket fired from a civilian area in Gaza towards civilian areas in Southern Israel

War in southern Israel


Over the last few days, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups have been launching rockets, mortars and anti-tank missiles towards Israeli civilian targets. Recently, Hamas fired a Kornet - a Russian made anti-tank missile, at an Israeli school bus in southern Israel. A young boy was critically wounded and his fate is still uncertain.


Dozens of rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel in the past 48 hours alone, hitting a number of cities including Ashqelon, Ashdod, Beer-Sheba, Yavne, Ofakim and also smaller Israeli villages whose citizens simply want to live in peace, without fearing for their childrens’ lives.


The majority of the weapons Hamas and other groups in Gaza are using in these recent attacks have been supplied by the Iranian military and are smuggled through the Egyptian-Gaza Strip border and the Mediterranean Sea by Islamic smugglers, all of whom are well compensated by Iran.


The southern smuggling routes


Once manufactured and packed, these lethal Iranian weapons are transferred to the biggest port in southern Iran, Bandar Abbas. Iranian ships loaded with the supposedly innocuous cargo leave the port towards the Persian Gulf. Within days the Iranian ships circle the Arabian Peninsula and reach Port-Sudan, a Harbour city in Sudan, North-East Africa.


The Iranian ships quickly unload the cargo onto trucks. From that moment, the path through Sudan, Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula and finally the Gaza strip, is far too easy, especially when you consider the ease of bribing officials and patrol soldiers who make only pennies a day.


The Israeli intelligence


None of the above is “news” to Israel. Israeli intelligence has the means (satellites) to monitor the Iranian ships and other technological means to monitor the time, the place and the way the Iranians are smuggling weapons to Gaza, not necessarily the what though. Their constrain is not the lack of information, it's finding the right place and time to strike.


Israel's political and military constrains


Once the weapons land on Egyptian soil, Israel cannot attack the cargo carriers due to its peace treaty with Egypt. While the Egyptians are informed about the weapons smuggling, their ability to stop it is limited and, these days, they have other concerns on their minds.


Israel will not attack the Iranian ships nor will it take control of them. Such an act is regarded as an act of war and that’s the last thing Israel needs now, especially considering the probability of Hezbollah and Syria participating.


From Israel's point of view, the Sudanese smuggling path is considered the weakest link. It's distant from Israel; the countries never signed a peace agreement, and Sudan has no military capabilities against Israel. Therefore, attacking the arms convoys on Sudanese soil is the likeliest option.


In 2009, during Israel’s "Operation Cast Lead" in the Gaza Strip, CBS news reported that Israel attacked a Sudanese convoy of 17 trucks, resulting in the death of 39 men. In response to the reports, Ehud Olmert, Israel's former Prime Minister said, "We operate any place where we can hurt the terror infrastructure".


On April 6th 2011, "Al Arabiya" media reported that in the recent attack in Sudan, a senior Hamas militant was killed. The Arab media said that an Apache helicopter was responsible for the lethal attack. The Sudanese foreign minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, said that he was convinced that Israel was behind the attack, which he described as foreign aggression. The Sudanese governor assumed that Israel’s Mossad was responsible.


There are contradictory reports about last week's attack in Sudan. with some "eye witnesses" seeing jetfighters, while others reported helicopters and even a ground ambush by professional assassins.


When asked about the attacks in Sudan, Prime Minister Netanyahu said the following, "Some see the hands of Israel anywhere in the world and whenever something happens, but that is not always the truth.”

Related articles: (Iran, Israel, Sudan, Weapon Smuggling, )

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