Israel’s ‘Gaza Arms Ship’ Likely Wasn’t Heading to Gaza

Officials Say Ship Was Sinai-Bound

Israel’s high-profile capture of an arms ship in the Red Sea earlier this month was painted by their government as an “Iranian ship bound for Gaza.” The Iranian nature of the ship remains entirely unproven, and now the Gaza part seems untrue as well.

US officials, as well as officials from other “non-Israeli regional sources,” say the ship was actually bound for Egypt, and intended to transfer weapons to the Sinai Peninsula.

Rebels in the Sinai Peninsula, including al-Qaeda-linked Salafist factions, have been fighting the Egyptian military to a standstill since an offensive that began after last summer’s coup d’etat, and those rebels seemed to be the ones eager to get the arms therein.

Israel is said to have been reluctant to point that out publicly because it would embarrass the Egyptian military junta, which they have gotten extremely cozy with. That’s not the only problem, though.

Weapons bound for al-Qaeda-linked fighters in north Egypt are almost certainly not coming out of Iran, and the admission that the ship wasn’t headed to Gaza will inevitably cause people to reexamine the lack of evidence of Iranian involvement. The Israeli ‘evidence’ began and ended with a few bags of cement on the ship, with the words “made in Iran” printed on them in English.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of