Egyptian navy goes on high alert

Move comes after IDF decision to avoid Suez Canal due to terror information.

By ARIEH O’SULLIVAN, NEWS AGENCIES
December 11, 2005 01:20
2 minute read.
navy ship in sunset

navy ship sunset 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Egypt put its installations along the Suez Canal on high alert over the weekend after receiving warnings of a possible terrorist attack by al-Qaida on ships in the strategic waterway. The alert coincidentally followed a report in The Jerusalem Post Friday that the Israeli Navy had decided to avoid the Suez Canal out of concern its vessels would be targets for Islamic Jihad terrorists. Egyptian canal officials and security sources told news agencies that the warnings had come from Egypt's embassy in Denmark, but did not give details about how the embassy received the information. Egyptian security forces barred fishermen from the waterway and closed some roads leading to the canal, especially in the area between Ismailia and the northern entrance of Port Said. Security was beefed up along the patrol roads parallel to the canal that are used by security and other authorities, an official from the Suez Canal Authority told news agencies. Shipping in the canal, which is a major international trade route running between the Mediterranean and Red Sea, has not been affected by the measures, one official said. "The Egyptian Embassy in Copenhagen sent warnings to the Suez Canal Authority saying it had received information about possibilities of al-Qaida carrying out terrorist attacks inside the canal waterway against passing ships," one authority official was quoted as saying. Security sources confirmed that security had been heightened. Egypt's Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment. Oil tankers, container ships and warships regularly pass through the canal, which earned Egypt $3.3 billion in the 2004-2005 fiscal year and is the third largest income earner for the country. The warnings apparently had no impact on Israeli civilian shipping. The IDF Spokesman initially denied the Post report that the navy was avoiding the Suez Canal. But later military sources admitted that the navy had indeed ceased sailing through the Suez Canal but that the decision had been taken some time ago and was not related to the current terror warnings.

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