The Israel Navy appointed a new commander to head the Red Sea sector this week – at a time when southern naval activities are growing in strategic importance.

Navy Cmdr. Ilan Mintz took over as commander of the southern coastline from Cmdr. Zvika Shahar, who served in the post for nearly three years.

“The activity in this arena is significant for the security, sovereignty, and maritime assets of the State of Israel,” said Navy chief Adm. Ram Rothberg at the swearing-in ceremony on Monday.

“In a place where the ranges are short and the warning time during an event is minimal, the ability to arrive at the scene of a terror incident must be immediate,” Rothberg said.

He described the Navy’s continuous security activities in the Red Sea as “extraordinary,” and vowed that Israel’s “southern gate will remain secure in the face of every challenge.”

The Navy chief praised “the special strategic connection between Israel, Jordan and Egypt,” adding that he looked forward to continuing cooperation.

Mintz referred to the Red Sea area as “challenging... with maritime and land borders of neighboring states, in a complicated time.”

As outgoing commander, Shahar said the Navy had reached “new heights” in weaponry and advanced infrastructure during his tenure.

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