and Israel hold joint naval exercise


US and Israeli forces have embarked on a four-day maritime exercise in the Red Sea amid mounting tensions with Iran

The US and Israeli navies have embarked on a four-day joint drill, drilling together in the Red Sea, amid growing concerns about threats from Iran’s naval forces.

The joint exercise began on Monday and will continue through Thursday, according to a statement from the US 5th Fleet, which is based in Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. The exercise will focus on: “mission planning, maritime interdiction and other exercises at sea”, said the 5th Fleet.

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the joint maneuvers, saying its INS Keshet missile ship and INS Eilat corvette will participate in several missions alongside US warships and a tank tanker. US Navy ships involved in the exercise include the USS Nitze guided missile destroyer, the USS Lewis B. Puller mobile base ship and the USNS Matthew Perry freighter.

US and Israeli naval forces have held several joint exercises this year, and Israel took part in an exercise in the Red Sea last November led by the 5th Fleet that also included the UAE and Bahrain. The IDF said the November exercise was in response to Iranian attacks on Israeli ships.

The latest exercise comes after Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned Iran’s naval activity in the region was at its highest level in years. “The presence of the Iranian armed forces in the Red Sea in recent months is the most significant in a decade,” he said last month. “It is a direct threat to trade, energy and the global economy.”

In June, two US naval vessels faced three Iranian fast attack craft in the Strait of Hormuz. The 5th Fleet accused the Iranian speedboats of interacting with the American ships “in an unsafe and unprofessional manner.”

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