TEL AVIV Ñ Israel has captured an Egyptian fishing boat bound for
the Palestinian Authority that officials said transported rockets, detonators and computer "how to" disks for suicide bombers. Also on board was a Hizbullah rocket expert.
Officials said Israeli commando forces captured the boat near the
Lebanese port of Nakoura on Wednesday. They said the boat was headed for the
Gaza Strip and contained rocket components and instruction books for making advanced explosives.
The military said in a statement that the Egyptian boat contained 36
computer disks with instructions for suicide bombers, 25 rocket detonators and a
radio activation system for remote-control bombs. A film found on the boat
provided instructions on making RDX, a powerful explosive.
The aim, officials said, was for Hizbullah to instruct the PA and the
ruling Fatah militia on the assembly and production of Katyusha rockets, Middle East Newsline reported.
They said the Hizbullah expert was to have trained Palestinians on how to
build a 122 mm launcher for the Katyusha rocket.
Most of Hizbullah's huge arsenal of Katyusha rockets is said to have a
range of 22 kilometers. Palestinian insurgents have developed the Kassam-2
and Kassam-3 short-range missiles, with a range of no more than 12
The officials said the Egyptian boat was ordered by an aide of PA
Chairman Yasser Arafat, Adel Maarabi. They said the boat left Alexandria for
Libya, where it picked up rocket components. From there, the vessel went to
the Lebanese coast, where the Hizbullah operative boarded. The operative was
identified as Hamad Maslam Mussa.
"There is no doubt that those involved in the affair are very close to
Arafat," Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said.
The officials said the PA's Maarabi was linked to at least two other
ships sent by Hizbullah to the Gaza Strip since 2001. They were the
Santorini and the Karine-A, the latter captured by Israel in the Red Sea in
The Israeli navy has increased patrols of the eastern Mediterranean to
prevent the prospect of an insurgency attack from the sea.