Two Iranian naval vessels entered the Suez Canal on Tuesday en route to Syria, officials said, the first time in three decades that Tehran has sent military ships through the strategic waterway.
Yesterday DEBKAfile reported that US Navy warships boxed in two Iranian of the 12th Flotilla, but today Suez Canal officials report taht two Iranian naval vessels have entered the Suez en route for the Mediterranean Sea, and FoxNews is reporting on the air at 10:40 CT that the ships have reached the Mediterranean Sea.
Canal officials report Iranian ships entered the canal early Tuesday morning and are expected to reach the Mediterranean later in the day.
Tuesday February 22, 2011 marks the first time in three decades that Iranian military ships have traveled the Suez Canal that links the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.
Israel, which has been repeatedly threatened by Iran with total destruction, has declared it views the passage as a provocation.
Iranian officials say the ships are headed to Syria, also an enemy of Israel, for a training mission.
Suez Canal officials say the ships are expected to pay a fee of $290,000 for the crossing.
Pundits say Iran is taking advantage of Egypt’s current weakness during its February 2011 revolution.
Kharg Island is a continental island in the Persian Gulf belonging to Iran. It is located 25 km (16 miles) off the coast of Iran and 483 km (300 miles) northwest of the Strait of Hormuz. Administered by the adjacent coastal Bushehr Province, Kharg Island provides a sea port for the export of oil and extends Iranian territorial sea claims into the Persian Gulf oil fields.
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The Suez Canal with Port Said and the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Great Bitter Lake near Ismailia at south-central, and the Gulf of Suez to the south.