JERUSALEM, Israel - In a predawn raid on Wednesday, an elite Navy Commando unit uncovered a large Iranian arms shipment on a cargo ship flying under an Antiguan flag.
Hundreds of tons of weaponry, including Katyusha rockets, mortars, anti-tank missiles, grenades, explosives, rifles and ammunition, were hidden under other cargo.
The seizure took place about 100 miles off Israel's coast not far from Cyprus.
Navy vessels escorted the ship to the Ashdod port, where the cargo will be examined more closely.
According to early reports, the ship originated in Iran, docked in Yemen and Sudan before sailing through the Suez Canal en route to Hezbollah terrorists in Syria or Lebanon.
"This was a very large shipment," the IDF Spokesman's Office told CBN News.
Some reports have compared Wednesday's discovery with a similar incident that took place nearly eight years ago.
On January 3, 2002, Israeli Navy Commandos seized the Karine-A freighter, which was carrying some 50 tons of Iranian weaponry meant for Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip.
Hours after Wednesday's raid, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu convened the Security Cabinet.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-General Gabi Ashkenazi and Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom, commander of the Israeli Navy.
"This is another success in the endless struggle against attempts to smuggle weapons and military equipment meant to strengthen terrorist elements who threaten the security of Israel," Barak said, offering his congratulations to the IDF unit that carried out the capture.
Sources: The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz