Two Iranian warships have entered Egypt’s Suez Canal, an official informed Reuters. These ships are bound for Syria. Reuters said no other details were immediately available.
The Suez Canal, controlled by Egypt, is a strategic location that allows ships access from Asia to Europe by going northbound along the Red Sea, through the Canal, and into the Mediterranean. Before the Suez Canal opened, ships had to take a lengthy journey around the southern tip of Africa.
Israeli officials are uneasy about the passage of warships near their country (which is located very close to the Suez Canal) and have voiced their concerns in the days leading up to this event.
Previously, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “we can see what an unstable region we live in, an area in which Iran is trying to take advantage of the situation that has arisen and broaden its influence by transferring two warships via the Suez Canal. Israel takes a grave view of this Iranian step.”
However, as a BBC article pointed out, Iran announced its intent to send warships into the Mediterranean back in January, before unrest in Egypt broke out, so it’s probably not just taking advantage of the situation in Egypt.
However, Israel may suspect that the ships contain supplies for Hezbollah, an anti-Israel militant group in Lebanon, and that in future naval conflicts in the region, these ships may be deployed against Israeli interests.