Israel Navy officers.
Israel Navy officers. Photo by Moti Milrod
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IDF Spokesman
Weapons found on board the ship 'Victoria', which was seized by the Israel Navy on March 15, 2011. Photo by IDF Spokesman

Israeli naval forces intercepted a cargo ship in the Mediterranean on Sunday on suspicion of carrying arms, and troops boarded the vessel for a "security check," sources in the Israel Defense sources said.

The ship was intercepted near the coast of Israel, on suspicion that it was carrying arms destined for countries in the region, apparently to either Lebanon or Gaza.

The IDF spokesman said in a statement that the Hs Beethovan, bearing a Liberian flag, was intercepted 160 sea miles of the coast of Israel, and that the inspection of the ship was carried out with the permission of the ship's captain.

If nothing is found on the ship, the spokesman's statement said, it will be allowed to continue its journey.

An Israeli military source said that troops were conducting a "very thorough search of its cargo."

The official said so far "nothing outstanding has been found" on the ship, and declined to provide details, describing the interception as "routine protection of our territorial waters.”

In March 2011, Israel seized a cargo ship, the Victoria, on suspicion that it held Iranian-supplied arms intended for the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Israel said the vessel had set sail from Syria, stopped in Turkey and had been destined for Alexandria in Egypt.

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