U.K. Times: Ofer Bros. ships carried reconnaissance equipment


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Cargo ships owned by an Israeli company ferried U.S. Air Force Blackhawk helicopters and Mossad commandos to Iran for reconnaissance missions against nuclear sites, a British newspaper reported.

The helicopters were concealed in special containers for infiltration into Iran, Britain’s Sunday Times reported. The ships were owned by the Ofer Brothers Group. Two companies owned by Sami Ofer, who died June 2, and his brother, Yuli, appeared last month on a U.S. list of entities to be sanctioned for dealings with Iran’s energy sector.

The Ofer group was sanctioned for its role in providing a tanker valued at $8.65 million to an Iranian shipping company. The Ofer brothers, who hail from one of Israel’s wealthiest families, denied knowledge of involvement in the sale, saying the ship had been sold to a third party before it was sold to Iran.

At least eight ships belonging to companies owned by the Ofer group also are alleged to have docked in Iranian ports to load and offload cargo in recent years, according to reports.

A Knesset committee discussion of the allegations last week broke up mid-discussion after a mysterious note was delivered to the committee chairman.

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