Israeli officials have warned of increased threats from Iran and its allies in the Red Sea.
By Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner
The Israeli Navy on Monday kicked off a four-day joint maritime exercise with American forces in the Red Sea, a month after Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned of Iran’s heightened military presence there.
The bilateral drill includes the United States Fifth Fleet and will focus on mission planning, maritime interdiction, and joint practice.
The Israel Defense Forces said its Sa’ar 5-class corvette “Eilat” and the INS Sa’ar 4.5 “Keshet” missile boat will engage in a variety of missions alongside Fifth Fleet ships and a refueling tanker.
Israeli officials have been warning about a recent increase in maritime threats, accentuating the importance of joint naval exercises with the U.S. and other regional allies.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz in July shared satellite images of recent Iranian naval patrols in the Red Sea, saying the country was “methodically basing itself” there.
“It is a direct threat to international trade, energy supply, and the global economy,” he said.
The Israeli Navy and the U.S. Fifth Fleet carried out their biggest joint drill to date in April. For the first time, Israeli missile ships trained on refueling from an American replenishment tanker in the Red Sea.
Earlier this year, the Israeli Navy participated in a U.S.-led Middle East exercise together with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — and, for the first time, publicly joined Saudi Arabia and Oman, two countries with which it has no official diplomatic relations.
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