US and Israel hold joint navy exercise
The US and Israeli navies have launched a four-day joint exercise in the Red Sea amid rising concern over the alleged threat posed by Iran’s maritime forces.
The joint war games began on Monday and will run through Thursday, according to a statement by the US 5th Fleet, which is based in Bahrain. The exercise will focus on “mission planning, maritime interdiction and other drills at sea,” the 5th Fleet said.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the joint maneuvers, saying its INS Keshet missile ship and INS Eilat corvette will participate in a variety of missions alongside US warships and a refueling tanker. US Navy vessels involved in the exercise include the USS Nitze guided-missile destroyer, the USS Lewis B. Puller mobile base vessel and the USNS Matthew Perry cargo ship.
Naval forces from Israel and the United States began a four-day maritime exercise in the Red Sea, Aug. 1.Read more ⬇️https://t.co/sdOq1dReIfpic.twitter.com/zXK9DkICnB— U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet (@US5thFleet) August 1, 2022
The US and Israeli navies have held several joint drills this year, and Israel took part in an exercise in the Red Sea last November that was led by the 5th Fleet and also included the UAE and Bahrain. The IDF said the November drill was a response to Iranian attacks on Israeli ships.
The latest exercise comes after Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned that Iranian naval activity in the region was at the highest level in years. “The presence of Iran’s military 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 Navy vessels faced off with three Iranian fast attack craft in the Strait of Hormuz. The 5th Fleet accused the Iranian speedboats of interacting with the US ships “in an unsafe and unprofessional manner.”