In the biggest arms seizure in its history, Israeli commandoes captured more than 500 tons of weapons bound for Hezbollah. If you'd like to see some of the footage of the raid and the weapons they found, you can click here:
In the video, you'll notice containers marked "IRISL," which stands for "Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines." Some of the containers actually bore the markings of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. While Hezbollah claims the weapons were not meant for them, the chief spokesperson for the IDF told CBN News those claims are "not serious." They maintain it's no secret Iran is arming and funding Hezbollah and has become its main supplier of weaponry, with Syria as its next biggest supplier.
Some people have asked how Israel could seize this ship. They acted under the auspices of UN Council Resolution 1747. That resolution specifies, "Iran shall not supply, sell or transfer directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircraft any arms or related material, and all States shall prohibit the procurement of such items from Iran by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, and whether or not originating in the territory of Iran."
Yet Iran transfers arms in three main ways to Hezbollah. One is by air into Beirut's airport, the other by land from Syria and the third by sea. One defense analyst told us both land and air leave larger "intelligence signatures," which makes smuggling by sea more attractive. Five hundred tons of weapons would require Iran to use 20 planes, which is more expensive and easier to track.
The weapons cache was huge - 500 tons - ten times the weapons seized by Israel in 2002 when they caught the Karine-A trying to smuggle 50 tons of weapons to Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority. The weapons were also surrounded by bags filled with a substance making it difficult to scan. Obviously Israel acted on intelligence to track and seize this cargo.
While this definitely represents a blow to Hezbollah and Iran, financially, diplomatically and militarily, Hezbollah still possesses a prodigious amount of weapons. Some estimates put their arsenal at 34,000 rockets. That's more rockets than Hezbollah had in its possession before the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Israel may have won this round, but it's just one more chapter in the ongoing Israeli-Iranian war. Given Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, the next round could potentially be a lot bigger.