Israeli warships pass through Suez canal

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JERUSALEM: Two Israeli naval vessels passed through Egypt’s Suez Canal on Tuesday, headed from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, Israeli and Egyptian sources said.

“It was routine, they were on their way to Eilat” where Israel has its Red Sea naval base, an Israeli security source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

A source at the Canal Authority named the vessels as the Lahav and the Yafo, without giving their size or type.

Israel dispatched two missile boats to the Red Sea last August after Iran deployed a submarine and a warship there on what it called a patrol mission.

The Israeli military said at the time that its own naval deployment was “part of a routine exercise.”

After fighting several wars since Israel’s foundation in 1948, Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1979, but Israeli vessels rarely pass through the strategic waterway.

The military had no comment on Tuesday’s crossing, which came to the backdrop of an international standoff over Iran’s nuclear program, which much of the world believes is geared toward developing atomic weapons.

It also comes after four days of deadly fighting between Israel and militants in Gaza, some of whom were suspected of using Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula as a launch pad for anti-Israeli attacks.

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