Israel Warns It Might Act on Iranian Warships Passing Through Suez Canal

Published February 16, 2011

| FoxNews.com

Israel is monitoring two Iranian warships about to pass through the Suez Canal for Syria and warn they might act.

The Israeli Navy will be tracking the two warships as they cross the Suez Canal for the Mediterranean Sea, according to defense officials.

Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement that it had alerted "friendly nations" about the warships, Reuters reports.

Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says that "Israel cannot ignore these provocations," according to ynetnews.com.

"Unfortunately, the international community is not ready to deal with Iran's repeated provocations," Lieberman said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Lieberman added that the warships were "a provocation that proves Iran's nerve and self-esteem is growing from day to day."

The Egyptian body that runs the Suez Canal denied the claim.

Ahmed el-Manakhli, head of the canal operations room, said warships must get permission 48 hours before crossing, and "so far, we have not been notified."

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an e-mailed statement that "Israel is closely following the movements of the Iranian ships and has updated friendly states on the issue. Israel will continue to follow the ships movements."

Meanwhile, Iran has announced plans to deploy warships near Israel and dock at a Syrian port for a year, IsraelNationalNews.com reports.

A senior Israeli official tells the site that "Israel will know how to deal with it."

Intelligence officials believe that the Iranian warships might be involved in supplying radical Islamic groups in Yemen with weapons, according to UPI.com.

In Washington, the Pentagon declined to comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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