Dozens of rockets, boxes of hundreds thousands of bullets and nearly 200 mortar rounds will be opened for the world to see Monday as Israel puts weapons on show from a recently intercepted ship smuggling arms that it says exposes the “true face of Iran” which allegedly dispatched it.
The IDF says it found 40 long-range M-302 rockets aboard the Panamanian-flagged Klos-C it intercepted in the Red Sea last week, as well as 181 120-mm. mortar shells and approximately 400,000 7.62-caliber rounds.
IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said the mortar rounds had been made in Iran.
The arsenal will be presented at a news conference at a naval base in the southern port city of Eilat at 4:30 p.m. by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and navy chief Vice Admiral Ram Rutberb.
Journalists invited to the press conference were shown rows of armaments set up on a military dock at the Red Sea resort town, next to the Hanit boat, which intercepted the arms ship on Wednesday.
Netanyahu has said the seizure of the ship not only foiled the delivery of lethal weapons to Gaza but served to “expose the true face of Iran, which was behind it.”
During the press conference, he is expected to screen videos and photos of Iranian human rights violations, including executions, according to media reports.
Iran has flatly denied any involvement with the shipment, but Netanyahu accused the Islamic republic of “brazenly lying.”
“Each one of these rockets poses a threat to the safety of the citizens of Israel — each bullet and each rocket that was discovered had an Israeli address,” army chief Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said over the weekend.
If fired from Gaza, M-302 rockets, which have a range of 160 kilometers (100 miles), could easily reach Tel Aviv.
Ambassadors and military attaches are also expected to be taken to see the haul as Israel seeks to demonstrate evidence of Iran’s ties with militant groups.
World powers are currently engaged in talks with Iran to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
But Israel, which believes Iran is trying to build a military nuclear capability, has lashed out at the negotiations, arguing that the West is being duped over Tehran’s true intentions.
On Sunday, Netanyahu attacked EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton for her landmark visit to Tehran to discuss the nuclear talks and bolster ties.
“I’d like to ask her if she asked her Iranian hosts about the delivery of weapons to terror groups, and if she didn’t ask, why not?” he said.
The Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza, as well as its smaller Islamic Jihad rival, has denied any involvement in the shipment.
And Sudan, where Israel said the weapons were to be offloaded before being shipped overland to Gaza via Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula, has also denied any involvement.