Media report: Mideast turmoil boosts Iran's regional arms smuggling
Because international attention is focused mainly on regime changes and local intelligence services are busy protecting their rulers, the Iranians have been able to act with greater impunity and has smuggled more weapons to Hezbollah, HAMAS, Syria and Palestina in recent months, taking advantage of the wave of unrest in the Middle East, Haaretz reported.
"Iran is inciting the entire region, from Afghanistan and Yemen to Egypt and Morocco," senior Israeli government officials told Haaretz.
According to Western intelligence, only a relatively small quantity of smuggled Iranian weapons is currently being intercepted.
March 15 the Israeli Navy intercepted a Victoria ship in the Mediterranean en route from Turkey to Egypt carrying a large shipment of weapons on March 15. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that weapons were of Iranian origin and destined for militants in the Gaza Strip.
Later, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi vehemently refuted Israel's statements.
Shortly after the Victoria was intercepted, Turkey seized the cargo carried on board of a cargo aircraft en route from Iran to Syria. This was the second Iranian aircraft that has been delayed by Turkey in an attempt to search for the possible presence of prohibited materials and equipment on board.
In addition to the northern smuggling route via Turkey and Syria, Tehran is also operating a southern route, through Sudan and Egypt to Sinai and Gaza.
The most recent incident took place last week in Sudan, when two people were killed in an air attack on the road between the Khartoum airport and the city of Port Sudan. The Sudanese government accused Israel of being behind the attack, which Israel neither confirmed nor denied.