BEIRUT: Iran has smuggled more weapons to Hezbollah, Syria and Palestinian groups in recent months, taking advantage of the wave of unrest in the Arab world, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported Friday.
Because international attention is focused mainly on regime changes and local intelligence services were busy protecting their rulers, the Iranians have been able to act with greater impunity, Haaretz said.
It quoted a Western intelligence source as saying that only a relatively small quantity of smuggled Iranian weapons was currently being intercepted.
“Iran is inciting the entire region, from Afghanistan and Yemen to Egypt and Morocco,” a senior Israeli government official told the Israeli newspaper.
At least seven cases of weapons smuggling led by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been reported during the past two months, the daily reported.
In mid-March, Israel Navy commandos stopped the Victoria off the coast of Israel carrying weapons and ammunition sent from Iran and bound for Palestinian activists in the Gaza Strip.
According to Haaretz, Western intelligence sources said the weapons had been bound for “terror groups” in Lebanon or Gaza.
It said that in addition to the northern smuggling route via Turkey and Syria, Tehran was also operating a southern route, through Sudan and Egypt to Sinai and Gaza.