Iranian naval ships enter Mediterranean via Suez

ISMAILIA, Egypt Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:08pm EST

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ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) - Two Iranian naval ships have sailed through Egypt's Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, in a move likely to be keenly watched by Israel.

"Two Iranian ships crossed through the Suez Canal (on Thursday) following permission from the Egyptian armed forces," a source in the canal authority said Friday.

The destroyer and a supply ship could be on their way to the Syrian coast, the source added. Iran and Syria agreed to cooperate on naval training a year ago, and Tehran has no naval agreement with any other country in the region.

Two Iranian warships sailed along the strategic waterway on February 17 last year, in a move that Israel called a "provocation."

Syria and Iran are hostile to Israel.

Egypt's military, which has a close defense ties with the United States, has been governing the country since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak a year ago.

The Suez Canal cuts through Egypt and allows shipping to pass from the Middle East to Europe and vice versa, without going around southern Africa.

(Reporting by Yusri Mohamed; Writing by Marwa Awad; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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