I wonder if it was a Brittish or US sub...
Western Submarine Slipped Into Israeli Waters
Mon Nov 15, 2004 07:01 AM ET
By Michele Gershberg
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A submarine from a Western country slipped into Israeli waters last week on a spy mission, evading missile boats scrambled to intercept it, military sources said on Monday.
The sources did not name the country that sent the submarine, which penetrated three miles into territorial waters off Israel's northern Mediterranean coast, or say how long the vessel had been in the area.
The incident occurred on November 10, three days after the Lebanese Hizbollah guerrilla group breached Israeli air defenses by sending an unmanned spy plane over the northern city of Nahariya.
Iran-backed Hizbollah said such drones could be armed in the future to attack targets inside the Jewish state. There was no apparent connection with the submarine incident.
"It was a Western submarine which came seeking intelligence information," one military source said. "Once it was identified as such, missile boats were called in but it managed to escape."
Yuval Shteinitz, chairman of parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee, praised the navy for discovering the submarine following the air force's failure to detect the drone.
Shteinitz said the Israeli gunboats took action that signaled to the submarine that it was in their sights and the unidentified vessel left the coastal area.
"The submarine...was detected immediately with its entry into territorial waters and then was gotten rid of," he said.
Israel's territorial waters stretch 12 to 14 nautical miles off of its Mediterranean coast.
Israeli radio reports said the incident prompted the navy to place all of its ships and radar systems on high alert, and that similar incidents occurred in the past but were not publicized.
Israeli security sources said it was unlikely the submarine had entered Israeli waters by accident.
"Drifting across the border by accident would run against every rule of seamanship, especially when it comes to the skills demanded of a submarine crew," one of the sources said.
"The fact we detected them also showed that this submarine's main task -- covert operations -- failed."
Israel has several Dolphin-class submarines that are said to travel as far as North Africa and the Gulf to monitor enemy capabilities. The navy acts primarily as Israel's coast guard, intercepting attempted infiltrations from Lebanon and Gaza.
(Additional reporting by Dan Williams)