Iran on Thursday rejected Israeli allegations that Tehran supplied Syria-made rockets intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip, a day after the Israel Navy intercepted an Iranian arms vessel carrying medium-range missiles in the Red Sea, about some 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) from the Israeli coast. The Navy said that the shipment was headed for the Gaza Strip via Sudan.
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"This allegation is not true and in principle the message or movement of a ship carrying weapons from Iran to Gaza is not true," Amir Abdollahian, Deputy Foreign Ministry for Arab and African Affairs said, according to official state news agency IRNA.
"The allegation is merely based on repetitious and baseless fabrications of the Zionist media," he added.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iran's military arm which answers directly to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei rather than to the president, has also rejected the reports, according to IRNA.
There was no immediate comment from Syria,
Hamas Interior Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday that the seizure of the arms shipment by the IDF is an Israeli pretext to justify the Gaza blockade. He said Hamas knows that Gaza's maritime zone is under Israeli surveillance and that any ship that attempts to pass through would be stopped and that Gaza resistance forces are not so naïve as to send a large arms shipment via the sea.
The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah did not issue an official response to the takeover of the ship but Palestinian officials told Haaretz that the operation raises questions regarding the timing of the operation. "The ship has been sailing for weeks and it is seized exactly when Netanyahu is in Washington," the official said. "The entire operation and the reports raise many questions regarding the timing and whether the event was real or fabricated."