The Day In Israel: Thurs Oct 28th, 2010

Nigeria has intercepted weapons from Iran, possibly destined for Gaza.

And they are willing to give them up, if we provide our bank account details.

arms nigeria

AP

Nigeria’s secret service said on Tuesday it had intercepted 13 containers of weapons from Iran in what Israeli defense sources believe may be part of a new smuggling route from Iran to Hamas in Gaza.

Rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives camouflaged as building material were seized in the Nigerian port of Lagos after being unloaded from an Iranian ship.

Nigerian media reports said the ship, which came from Iran, docked in Lagos’ port for a few hours only, unloaded 13 containers and sailed on.

The bill of lading said the shipment consisted of building materials, Nigerian State Security Service spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar said.

“On opening the first container, the service operatives discovered rocket launchers, grenades and other explosives,” Ogar said, adding the weapons were concealed among crates of floor tiles.

The SSS had received intelligence ahead of time about the intention to smuggle weapons in containers via Lagos and was prepared for it, reports said.

Nigerian National Security Adviser Andrew Owoye Azazi declined to say what ship carried the weapons into the port. He said the federal government would destroy the weapons.

According to the Nigerian media, the clearing agent in charge of unloading the containers from the ship offered to bribe the Nigerian customs officers to transfer the containers to an off-dock terminal, where they could be screened outside the port. The customs officials alerted the security services, who ordered the containers opened.

Israel and Nigeria maintain security, trade and diplomatic relations. About a year ago Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited Nigeria, accompanied by Nitzan Nuriel, director of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau.

A Foreign Ministry source said the Israeli Embassy in Nigeria was conducting talks with the SSS and the Nigerian foreign ministry in an attempt to find out more about the weapons and the investigation into the affair.

A senior defense source said preliminary information suggests the weapons’ seizure has exposed a possible new arms smuggling route from Iran to Hamas, via Africa. He said the Iranians may have run into difficulties sending arms to Hamas via the Red Sea to the Sudan region and from there to Gaza via Sinai, following the beefed up international supervision on the movement of Iranian ships.

“Perhaps the Iranians were planning to unload the weapons in Nigeria and transfer them by land to Sudan and Sinai,” the senior source said.

On the last day of the Israeli offensive Cast Lead in Gaza, Israel and the United States signed an agreement to fight arms smuggling from Iran to Hamas.

They set up a work team of several Western States for sharing intelligence and stopping Iranian arms smuggling via the sea to Gaza.

In March 2009 foreign media reported that Israel Air Force airplanes attacked a convoy of weapons smugglers in Sudan on its way to Gaza. Thirty-nine of the people in the convoy were killed and civilians in the area were wounded. Israel refused to confirm its involvement in the attack.

Defense officials said this could be Iran’s third attempt at arms smuggling by sea that has been intercepted in the course of the past year.

In November 2009, the Israel Navy boarded the vessel Francop in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship was carring hundreds of tons of weapons from Iran to Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In September this year an arms delivery from Iran to Syria was intercepted in Italy’s Calabria port. A few days later an arms shipment from North Korea to Syria was captured in a Greek port.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

7:56PM: This is what a sick society looks like:

Islamic Jihad

A Palestinian boy looks at Islamic Jihad militants during an anti-Israel military show in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip October 28, 2010. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Islamic Jihad

A Palestinian boy watches Islamic Jihad militants during an anti-Israel military show in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip October 28, 2010. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Islamic Jihad

A masked Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant carries an a RPG (rocket propelled grenade) launcher, as he stands near a woman carrying a baby, during a march in preparation for a rally on Friday, marking the anniversary of the movement's founding, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)

5:16PM: Lauren Booth’s first interview since converting to Islam.

1:52PM: The Jerusalem Post reports:

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the PA will declare an independent Palestinian state in 2011, while picking olives with a reporter from Italian daily Corriere Della Sera, according to an interview published on Thursday.

Which begs the question: why does he want to declare a state while picking olives? Seems like a weird venue for such an declaration.

10:05AM: Photo of the day:

abbas map

PA President Mahmoud Abbas holds up his Tony award (APe/Choco Moussa)

Just kidding. That’s Abbas holding up a stone model of the map of “Palestine” that erases Israel.

Peace!

Read more here.

6:05AM: Some good news from Canada:

The Boycott-Israel conference that ended Sunday in Montreal was supposed to show the growing momentum for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. With barely 100 activists attending the closing plenary Sunday afternoon at UQAM, it is clear that the BDS movement has no noticeable traction or support in Quebec.

Even the participation of media-hyped Amir Khadir, Quebec Solidaire MNA, was not enough to attract curious participants to a session meant to outline the goals of suspending the Quebec-Israel Cooperation Agreement and the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.

Since its launch in Quebec, the BDS campaign has achieved nothing but dismal failures ; failures which it amazingly claims as successes, thanks to an absurd rhetoric that only seem to fool its own followers.

In fact, since the launch of the BDS campaign, the commercial and cultural links between Quebec and Israel have grown enormously and have never been as solid or diversified.

If these are the types of so-called victories that we can expect from the BDS movement, we hope to see many more in the near future. And if in fact there is a serious movement to boycott Israel in Quebec, as is the claim of its organizers, it has been so marginalized that no one knows that it exists.

5:55AM: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out Hizbullah has weapons.

Just ask “Banky.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report released Wednesday that he is concerned about Hizbullah in Lebanon having weapons and he believes the group should lay down its arms.

Ban said that both local and foreign militias, that are not subject to government control, are active in Lebanon.

The UN chief added that only political action within Lebanon could disarm Hizbullah and other terrorist groups.

Ban called on Hizbullah to act solely as a political party with no military function.

Yeah, good luck with that.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media