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Iran expanding its maritime presence in the Red Sea, Israel's defense minister warns

Regime entrenchment is worst seen in a decade

Screenshot from Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz's presentation, Security Challenges for Europe

Israel’s defense minister said that Iran has ramped up its military presence in the Red Sea.

Speaking at the 26th Annual Economist Government Roundtable in Athens, Benny Gantz showed his Greek and Cypriot counterparts satellite images of Iranian entrenchment in the Red Sea waters – four military ships.

“Over the last year, Iran has seized international tankers and attacked vessels. Today, we can confirm that Iran is methodically basing itself in the Red Sea, with war ships patrolling the southern region,” Gantz said.

“In the last months, we have identified the most significant Iranian military presence in the area, in the past decade.”

The second source of aggression, Gantz said, is its proxies. On Saturday, Israel shot down three Hezbollah drones sent from Lebanon that were headed toward Israel’s gas rig in the Mediterranean Sea. 

“This event sabotages the maritime negotiations between Israel and Lebanon over economic waters – so it is in fact an attack on Lebanese citizens, who face extreme economic hardship,” Gantz said.  

Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with his Cypriot counterpart, Minister of Defense Charalambos Petrides, as part of the Annual Economist Government Roundtable in Athens, July 5, 2022. (Photo: Ariel Hermoni/MOD)

“It also shows that Hezbollah is an extension of the Ayatollah regime - operating to destabilize the region and to cause miscalculations.”

This "direct threat to international trade, energy supply and the global economy... threatens peace and stability in the maritime arena, which may affect the Mediterranean and beyond.”

“Security is not standalone,” Gantz said, calling on cooperation between Israel, Greece, Cyprus and Egypt in the field of energy. 

He added that in working together, “We must look at climate change as a national security issue.”

Screenshot from Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz's presentation, Security Challenges for Europe

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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