Iran accuses Israel of faking ship raid

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Iran accused Israel of faking a raid on a ship laden with arms bound for the Gaza Strip.

“An Iranian ship carrying arms for Gaza. Captured just in time for annual [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] anti-Iran campaign,” Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said Thursday on his official Twitter account. “Amazing Coincidence! Or same failed lies.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington this week to attend the annual AIPAC conference, where he pressed for a tougher U.S. posture in nuclear talks underway between Iran and the major powers.

Israeli troops on Wednesday seized the Panama-flagged ship in the Red Sea. They said the ship was laden with M-302 long-range missiles to be smuggled into Gaza via Egypt.

The missiles, which Israel said originated in Iran, would allow rockets fired from Gaza to reach anywhere in Israel; currently, the range for rockets fired from Gaza is Israel’s south.

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