YNet News (Link) - Dudi Cohen, AP and AFP (August 30, 2011)
The Israeli Navy (INF) has decided to boost its presence and patrols near Israel’s maritime border with Egypt due to a viable terror threat in the area, as Iran announced it was set to send its 15th fleet to the Red Sea as well to “convey message of peace and friendship to all countries.”
Israeli security sources told the Associated Press on Tuesday that two additional warships have been dispatched to Israel’s Red Sea border with Egypt. Another source said that the operation was routine, telling Reuters that “two naval craft have been sent to the Red Sea. This is not unusual.”
On Monday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz ordered that deployment across the entire southern sector be bolstered, especially in the area near the Israel-Egypt border, following intelligence indicating an imminent threat.
The area adjacent to the border has become the scene of military deployment described by one security source as “unprecedented.” The IDF has also deployed advanced technology in the area in order to thwart terror attacks. Still, No changes in security alignments were observed on the Egyptian side of the border.
Military intelligence suggests that an Islamic Jihad terror cell has left the Gaza Strip and intends to infiltrate Israel through Sinai. Minister for Home Front Defense Matan Vilnai has been quoted as saying that the cell may number as many as 10 terrorists.
The security situation in southern Israel has been particularly tense following a series of terror attacks that claimed the lives of eight Israelis in mid-August; as well as several days in which Israel’s western Negev communities suffered heavy shelling by Gaza Strip-based terror groups.
Following the terror attack, in which five Egyptian troops were also killed, Israel and Egypt agreed to increase the presence of Cairo troops in the Sinai Peninsula. As a result, some 1,500 Egyptian soldiers deployed across Sinai on Monday.
Iran eyeing Red Sea maneuvers
Meanwhile, Iran’s Press TV reported Tuesday that Tehran has decided to dispatch the 15th fleet to the Red Sea once more.
Iran’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told the state-run agency that the Islamic Republic is planning to send its 15th fleet to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, adding that the fleet’s main operational objective will be to patrol the high seas and thwart pirate raids.
The Islamic Republic’s 15th fleet is comprised of a submarine and a several warships.
Sayyari noted that Iran’s Navy plans to have “an active presence in the high seas in line with the guidelines of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei with the purpose of serving the country’s interests.
“The presence of Iran’s army in the high seas will convey the message of peace and friendship to all countries,” he said. †