Well, it is now the end of the day here and the details have slowed down now on the big news – so lets discusses yesterday's capture of the merchant vessel, Francop, which was transporting military ordnances allegedly from Iran to Syria bound for Hezbollah.
The significance of this capture is huge for Israel. With this blatant violation of various UN Security Council Resolutions that, in actions related to the countries involved, they are legitimate acts of self-defense.
Today the IDF finished emptying the containers in their search of the vessel and the unloading of weapons was completed. The ship has left Ashdod where it was held, and Israel has allowed the crew to leave after it became clear they had no links with what was going on.
So now, there is an estimated 500 tons of armaments (by some calculations enough shells for a months' worth of fighting) that reportedly includes thousands of Katyushas and GRADs – all spread out on Ashdod docks for the worlds media to see. Israel's Foreign Ministry will in fact invite it's foreign ambassadors to view stockpile.
The goal: Demonstrate Iran's involvement in arming Hezbollah to the world so that they will understand what Israel is confronting.
The whole operation is being touted as one of precise intelligence and perfect execution – something Israel's military needs after the hammering it has taken from International observer groups over it's actions the last few years.
As for Hezbollah: they released a statement today that they have no connection with the ship, saying: “We deny any involvement with weapons ship and condemn the Zionist enemy for its piracy in international waters.”
The Syrian Foreign Minister and Iran's President meet today and it was all smiles in front of the cameras – and if the assumption (for lack of a better word) is true of their involvement – take note that they don't even blush when they are caught red handed.
Middle East Correspondent