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Israel Says It's Seized Iranian Arms Shipment Bound For Gaza

The Israeli military claims to have seized a ship carrying advanced Iranian-made weaponry bound for Gaza.

The Israel Defense Forces "intercepted an attempt to smuggle an Iranian shipment of advanced weaponry intended for terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. The operation took place in the early hours of Wednesday morning," the IDF said in a statement on its website.

The website also featured a video purportedly showing Iranian rockets to be used "against the Israeli civilian population."

The statement said the IDF discovered "numerous advanced weapons during the inspection, including M-302 surface-to-surface missiles, which are capable of reaching any point in Israel, including major population centers Tel Aviv and Jerusalem."

The weapons appeared to have been shipped with bags of cement that were stamped as having been made in Iran.

Reuters writes:

"The disclosure came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in the United States to press his case for tougher international action against Iran over its disputed nuclear program and support for Islamist guerrilla groups.

"The Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel Klos C was boarded in international waters without resistance from its 17-strong crew in a 'complex, covert operation,' military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner told reporters.

"There was no immediate comment from Iran or Syria.

"U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States helped Israel by providing information on the ship.

"'Soon after becoming aware of the imminent movement of the suspected vessel, the White House directed the Department of Defense to monitor the vessel," she said."

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.