Iranian navy ships re-enter Egypt's Suez Canal

Vessels that were described by Israel as a "provocation" leave the Mediterranean, head towards Red Sea, canal official says.

Iranian warships 311 Reuters (photo credit: REUTERS)
Iranian warships 311 Reuters
(photo credit: REUTERS)
CAIRO - Two Iranian navy ships have entered Egypt's Suez Canal and are expected to reach the Red Sea later in the day, a source in the canal authority said on Thursday.
"The two Iranian ships entered the Suez Canal at 0400 a.m. (0200 GMT) from the northern entrance of the Mediterranean and are on their way to the Red Sea," the source said.
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Coinciding with political turmoil in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world, Iran's decision to send warships close to Israeli territory has rattled politicians in the Jewish state.
The ships arrived on Feb. 23 in Syria, an ally of Iran and enemy of Israel, after passing through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, the first Iranian navy vessels to do so since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
"The Iranian ships will cross the canal with the convoy starting in the north from the Mediterranean," a canal official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters on Wednesday.
Iran's navy has said the ships, a naval frigate and a supply ship, were not performing any military exercises but were on a routine friendly visit, carrying a "message of peace and friendship" to the world.