Iran smuggling weapons through secret route to Palestine, says report

12 April,2024 06:26 AM IST |  Tehran  |  Agencies

Iran employs intelligence operatives, militants, criminal gangs for task: NYT

A Palestinian man checks a burnt vehicle after an attack by Israeli settlers in occupied West Bank on Thursday. Pic/AFP

Iran has been delivering weapons to Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank through a secret smuggling route across West Asia and has employed intelligence operatives, militants and criminal gangs for the task, The New York Times reported citing officials from the US, Israel and Iran.

The aim of operating this secret route is to foment unrest against Israel by flooding the enclave with as many weapons as it can, three Iranian officials were quoted by the NYT as saying. The covert operation has raised concerns that Tehran is seeking to turn the West Bank into the next flashpoint in the long-simmering shadow war between Israel and Iran.

The raging conflict in Gaza took on a new dimension this month, risking a broader conflict in the Middle East, as Tehran vowed to retaliate in response to an Israeli strike on an embassy compound that killed seven Iranian armed forces commanders.

Many weapons smuggled into the West Bank largely travel along two paths from Iran through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel, the officials said. As the arms cross borders, the officials added, they change hands among a multinational cast that can include members of organized criminal gangs, extremist militants, soldiers and intelligence operatives, The New York Times reported.

A key group in the operation, the Iranian officials and analysts said, are Bedouin smugglers who carry the weapons across the border from Jordan into Israel.

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