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Israel Searches Foreign Ships to Bar Terrorist Infiltration

Adm. Michael Barkai, commander of Israel’s Navy, disclosed to day that the Navy is stopping and searching foreign vessels that approach Israel’s coast as a measure against possible terrorist infiltration by sea. Barkai, who spoke on the occasion of Navy Day celebrated today, said this activity was permitted by international maritime law which allow a country to stop any ship suspected of carrying persons or equipment that might be injurious to its security.

He said the stop-and-search procedure was initiated after the March II assault on the Tel Aviv-Haifa highway by terrorists who landed on the Israel coast in rubber dinghies. He revealed that the mother ship which launched the dinghies was, in fact, observed by the Israeli Navy but was not contacted because it was sailing on a westerly course, away from Israel, and appeared harmless.

Barkai said other anti-terrorist measures included combined sea-air patrols of Israeli coastal waters and ultra-sensitive radar equipment, both stationary and mobile. Barkai said that the Libyan and Saudi Arabian navies have been strengthened but, for the time being, Israel’s Navy is strong enough to cope with the situation.

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