Israel’s successful raid on a ship concealing an Iranian weapons cache bound for Gaza came with a little help from the United States. The U.S. ambassador to Israel and the State Department confirmed that Israel and the U.S. coordinated military activities and shared intelligence leading up to the capture of the ship.
Ambassador Dan Shapiro told Israel Radio that American and Israeli officials were in constant communication regarding what to do with the ship. It was agreed between both sides to intercept the ship, named Klos C, and thwart a major threat to Israel’s security.
The U.S. congratulated Israel on the success of the raid. The ambassador made clear that the U.S. is extremely aware of the Islamic Republic’s role in sponsoring international terrorism, especially in the Middle East.
“We have clear information that the weapons on the ship were Iranian,” said IDF spokesperson Moti Almoz. The ship tried to fool the IDF by taking an indirect route to Sudan by traveling through the Persian Gulf, through the Straits of Hormuz, to Iraq, and then back again.
“The Iranians tried to use the Syrians to hide the origins of the weapons,” Almoz stated.
The Klos C was raided by the elite IDF “Shayetet 13” unit early Wednesday morning. The Israeli Navy had been tracking the ship for several days and finally conducted a military operation to capture the ship off the coast of Sudan and Eritrea in international waters.
The U.S. was one of three countries that were aware of the impending operation before it became public knowledge. Turkey was reportedly notified minutes before the operation since majority of crew members aboard the ship carried Turkish citizenship. Panama was informed after the raid because the Klos C was flying under the Panamanian flag.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the Pentagon was in the midst of planning its own military operation to intercept the Klos C.
“Soon after becoming aware of the imminent movement of the suspected vessel, the White House directed the Department of Defense to monitor the vessel and to develop concepts of operation for a range of options in order to be prepared to take unilateral steps if necessary,” Psaki stated at a press briefing.
“This is part of, of course, a robust effort on the part of the Administration. We were closely coordinated, our intelligence and military activities, with the – with our Israel counterparts, who ultimately chose to take the lead with this case,” Psaki said.
Psaki made clear that the weapons seizure would not affect negotiations between the U.S. and Iran regarding its nuclear program.
“Even as we continue our efforts to resolve our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program through diplomacy, we will continue to stand up to Iran’s support for destabilizing activities in the region and in coordination with our partners and allies,” she said.
Iran and Hamas have denied all allegations directed towards them regarding their role in Wednesday’s operation.