U.S. Monitoring Iran Ships Which Israel Says Will Cross Suez Canal

The Egyptian company which controls the canal has 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."

DPA
Haaretz Staff
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DPA
Haaretz Staff

The United States said Wednesday that it is monitoring two Iranian ships in the Red Sea which Israel said earlier in the day were set to cross the Suez Canal.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told American Jewish leaders in Jerusalem on Wednesday that two Iranian warships planned to sail through the Suez Canal en route to Syria. He called the move the latest "provocation" by Tehran and hinted at an Israeli response.

Local residents observe as a tanker passes through the Suez canal in Ismailia, Egypt, in this Nov. 20, 2008 file photo. Credit: AP

U.S. State Department spokesman PJ Crowley would not say whether they were warships and could not confirm their destinations.

"There are reports there are a couple of ships in the Red Sea," Crowley said. "What they do, where they go - we'll follow this with some curiosity."

"We always watch what Iran is doing," he said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama has been informed of the ships.

The Egyptian company which controls the canal has 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."

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