Takeover of Gaza-bound ship
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IDF spokesman
A missile on board a Klos-C ship that was intercepted by the Israel Defense Forces in the Red Sea, March 5, 2014. Photo by IDF spokesman
Map showing where the ship was seized.
Map showing where the ship was seized.

The U.S. helped track a Gaza-bound arms shipment that was raided by Israeli forces, and was prepared to take action if needed, the State Department said on Wednesday.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that The U.S. military was prepared to get involved in the seizure of the vessel, which was loaded with Iranian missiles, but added that Israel "ultimately chose to take the lead."

She said that the White House had directed the Defense Department to monitor the vessel, which was headed for the Gaza Strip via Sudan, and take "unilateral steps if necessary."

The fact that the White House directed the Pentagon to get involved showed "strong concern" by the United States over Iran's attempts to destabilize the region with arms shipments, Psaki said.