An IDF navy Missile Boat armed with anti-ship
An IDF navy Missile Boat armed with anti-shipFlash 90

According to a report in The Sunday Times, Israel used espionage equipment it planted off the Syrian coast to monitor Russian naval movements in the Mediterranean Sea.

The devices, which were discovered earlier this month by fishermen on Ant Island, were reportedly planted by commandoes of the IDF’s “Flotilla 13”-- or in Hebrew “Sheyetet 13” elite naval unit.

The commandoes allegedly visited the island via German-manufactured Dolphin class submarines, armed with nuclear cruise missile capabilities, at least twice previously in order to gather information on the local terrain and plant the equipment. 

Earlier this month Syria’s state television released photographs of the devices Damascus said were designed to photograph, register and transfer classified information.

The footage showed a camera, six large batteries, cables and transmitters, along with fake rocks used to camouflage the equipment.

According to the report, the equipment was planted on an uninhabited island in the Mediterranean, opposite to the Syrian port city of Tartus, near a Russian naval base.

The Sunday Times, citing a report on Lebanon’s Al-Manar television station, said that the gear could be used to track the movements of Russian warships and relay the pictures in real time.

It is unknown how long the equipment was in use before it was uncovered.

A senior Syrian security official told The Times that the spying gear was “highly intricate,” adding that the devises could have been used to track the Syrian military.

Syria is engulfed in a civil war that erupted nearly two years ago, and which has already resulted in the death of other 70,000 people, according to figures released by the United Nations.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor did not comment on the report of the spy equipment earlier this month.

"We will not be dragged into the Syrian civil war. Not on the verbal or propaganda battlefield, nor on the real one," he said.