Israeli Warships Send Message to Iran

Article excerpt

Byline: Ed Harris

TWO Israeli warships have sailed through the Suez Canal in a move that appeared to be a new signal to Iran that Israel could swiftly extend its reach to its nuclear neighbour.

Use of the Egyptian-controlled strategic waterway, which links the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, means that the Israeli navy could reach waters off Iran within days, instead of taking a much longer route around Africa.

Observers say that although Israeli vessels regularly use the canal, the recent moves have, unusually, been publicised by Israel. Shlomo Brom, of the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies, said: "I believe the news was likely leaked on purpose in order to signal to Iran that Israel has the capability of reaching them."

Two of Israel's Saar class missile boats passed through the Suez Canal and into the Red Sea yesterday. Israeli defence officials said the move was connected to "the navy's recent activities around the Red Sea".

Israel considers Iran its most serious threat, pointing to Tehran's nuclear programme, its support for anti-Israel militant groups and aggressive statements by its hardline president. …


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