JERUSALEM, Israel -- The Israeli navy intercepted an Iranian weapons shipment Wednesday on its way to terror groups within the Gaza Strip. The shipment contained dozens of long-range rockets.
Israeli defense officials said they tracked the shipment for months.
"Over the months, the Israeli intelligence has gathered, has continued to gather extensively, in order to intercept this mission that Iran was trying to carry out," Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.
The shipment included dozens of M-302 missiles that have a range of between 60 and 120 miles. Those strategic weapons would have put millions of Israelis in cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv within rocket range and represented a new level of danger to Israel's home front.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the weapons shipment reveals the true face of Iran.
"Iran is smiling, talking soft in the international forums, but it continues unabatedly its aggressive behavior in the Middle East and beyond, sending the deadliest weapons to the most cruel terror groups and despots like the Assad regime," Netanyahu said.
"It has not changed one iota its aggressive policies," he continued. "I think it's critically important to prevent this terrorist regime from having weapons of mass death. This regime must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons capability."
The seizure lifts the veil on the ongoing daily covert war between Israel and its enemies, what Israel's chief of staff Lt. Col. Benny Gantz calls the "war between wars."
The IDF released a video tracing the route of the missiles from Syria to Iran, onto a civilian ship at an Iranian port and then into the Red Sea where Israeli naval forces intercepted it hundreds of miles away from Israel.
Some analysts said it was biggest arms shipment seizure in more than a decade. The ship is under tow now and expected to arrive at the Israeli port of Eilat over the weekend.