An Iranian ship was attacked in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea by the Israeli navy early on Wednesday morning, while apparently on its way to Lebanon.According to Israeli media sources, no Cabinet meeting was held in advance of the decision to attack the ship, and a small number of Cabinet officials may have given the go-ahead for the attack.
Israeli officials told the Associated Press that the ship contained weapons including anti-tank missiles, but no official information has been released on the contents of the ship or the reason for its illegal seizure by the Israeli military. Col. Avital Leibovich with the Israeli military confirmed to reporters that the ship had been seized, but gave no details.
The Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, ‘This is another success in the endless struggle against attempts to smuggle weapons and military equipment whose goal is to strengthen terrorist elements who threaten the security of Israel.’
Since the ship was in international waters when it was seized, the takeover could be considered as an act of war, but Israeli officials say that the Iranian ship was disguised as a humanitarian aid ship flying the flag of Antigua. For that reason, analysts say that a response by the Iranian government seems unlikely.