Israel seizes ship with tons of weapons near Gaza

Weapons found on board the Mavi Marmara when it was heading to Gaza last May

Weapons found on board the Mavi Marmara when it was heading to Gaza last May

A freighter carrying a significant amount of weaponry believed to be for use by terrorists in the Gaza Strip has been intercepted by the Israeli navy.

The Victoria, which set sail from Syria and went via Turkey, was bound for Egypt but intelligence suggested it was carrying weapons from Iran for Hamas to smuggle across the border.

Each weapon found will be one less weapon used against an Israeli home

IDF spokesman

The Navy stopped the ship, which was carrying a Liberian flag, 200 miles off the Mediterranean coast and redirected it towards Ashdod.

An initial search revealed the cargo included dozens of tons of weaponry, although the exact amount has not yet been announced.

According to the Navy the crew did not know what was contained in the cargo.

A spokesman for the IDF said: "Each weapon found on the ship will be one less weapon used against an Israeli home."

After a similar incident in November 2009, when the Navy seized the Francop cargo ship, it emerged that there was 500 tons of Iranian weaponry on board. The weapons, intended for use by Hizbollah in Lebanon, included Katyusha rockets.

Weapons were also found on board the Mavi Marmara flotilla which Israel intercepted before it could reach Gaza last May.

Last updated: 11:42am, March 15 2011