Gantz: Iranian Warships Have Been Patrolling the Red Sea

Defense Minister Benny Gantz at the Knesset. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) – Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Tuesday that Iranian warships have been patrolling the Red Sea in recent months, and called their presence there a threat to regional stability.

“Today, we can confirm that Iran is methodically basing itself in the Red Sea, with warships patrolling the southern region,” Gantz said at a roundtable event in Athens.

“In the last months, we have identified the most significant Iranian military presence in the area, in the past decade,” he said. Gantz’s office said he presented satellite images of four Iranian warships patrolling the Red Sea.

Israel and a number of Arab countries share concerns about Iran’s influence in the region as well as Tehran’s nuclear programme. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful.

Ahead of a visit to the Middle East by U.S. President Joe Biden next week, Gantz has called for stronger security ties with Gulf Arab states that drew closer to Israel under a 2020 U.S.-sponsored diplomatic drive.

On Saturday, Iran-backed Hezbollah, an armed terror group in Lebanon, sent three drones toward an Israeli offshore gas rig that were intercepted by the IDF.

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