Friday, January 15, 2021

Israel ‘dramatically’ upgrades naval fleet with new advanced warship

Follow Us on Social Media

Israel has received from Germany the first of its new fleet of missile warships, which have been deemed the most advanced in its naval arsenal, to bolster the defences of vulnerable Mediterranean gas rigs as tensions with Iran soar.

The German-made ship, dubbed the “Shield”,  arrived in Haifa port on Wednesday, with three more expected to follow next year. 

Joe Biden reaffirms he will seek return to Iran nuclear deal

Read More »

The Saar-6 corvettes will bring to 15 the number of missile boats deployed by the Israeli navy, which, while small, carries out missions as far as the Red Sea and the Gulf. Israel is also expecting a shipment of three German-made submarines to add to its fleet, AFP reported. 

A top naval officer told the news agency that the naval upgrade is set to “dramatically” improve the country’s ability to counter regional rivals, including Iran.

The upgraded fleet will also reinforce the navy’s capacity to defend offshore natural gas assets from groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which receives backing from Iran.

“The welcome discovery of the gas fields off Israel’s shore made it necessary to create a plan that will provide a protective envelope,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said during a ceremony at the port on Wednesday, as quoted by Reuters. 

Concerns over Hezbollah 

Unlike earlier models of Israeli missile boats, the Saar-6 will be fitted with both electronic countermeasures for cruise missiles, which have a flat trajectory, and a maritime version of the Iron Dome system for shooting down high-angle rockets.

These additions, a senior naval officer told AFP, are precautions against Soviet-designed Yakhont cruise missiles and Iranian-made Khalij Fars rockets – believed by Israel to be among Hezbollah’s arsenal.

Israel has been particularly concerned over Hezbollah’s proximity to Mediterranean gas rigs since Tehran vowed to retaliate for Friday’s assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, which it blamed on Israel. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the allegations. 

“The Iranians are looking for ‘prestige’ targets like these, that can be hit with low casualties, meaning – they may hope – less chance of escalation,” an Israeli security official told Reuters. “The question is whether Hezbollah would strike now.”

Though Hezbollah has previously threatened the gas rigs, it said responding to Fakhrizadeh’s death was in Iran’s hands. Beirut has urged “all parties” to show restraint.

Still, Israel’s head of naval operations, Rear Admiral Eyal Harel, has said that the country’s offshore rigs “are the main objective on the Hezbollah target list for the next war”, AFP reported. 

Waiting for Biden?

Tensions have continued to rise in the region, particularly given last week’s assasination of Fakhrizadeh, but Iran is also weighing its changing fortunes with next month’s US presidential handover from outgoing President Donald Trump to the more diplomacy-minded President-elect Joe Biden.

Trump gives nod to hawkish aides to squeeze Iran: Report

Read More »

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has emphasised that Iran will seek its revenge in “due time” and will not be rushed into a “trap”.

Earlier on Wednesday, Biden reaffirmed that his incoming administration would seek a return to the multilateral nuclear deal with Tehran if the Islamic Republic also restores its compliance with the pact. 

Iran stopped complying with the nuclear deal after President Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018. Trump’s withdrawal set off a series of events that have brought the two countries to what many have described as “the brink of war”.

This week, officials told the Daily Beast that Trump had given Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a green light to hammer Iran – as long as it does not “start World War III”.

One White House official said Trump was largely “checked out” on what has been one of the biggest foreign policy issues of his administration, causing more uncertainty in the region. 

Source link

Latest news

EU health ministers call for increased vaccine production, shorter delivery times

VILNIUS – EU health ministers have called for increasing COVID-19 vaccine production and shortening delivery times, the Lithuanian Health Ministry said on Thursday.   Lithuanian...
All countries
24,949,978
Total Active Covid19 Cases
Updated on January 15, 2021 4:12 pm

Banks need to strike the right balance for digital transformation

Every financial institution is looking to digital transformation to meet rising customer expectations for speed and convenience, lower its operating cost, and fend...

UAE-Ireland ODI series held up again despite no further Covid positives

NewsMonday is final chance for series to continue as Paul Stirling admits frustrationsIreland's second ODI against the UAE in Abu Dhabi has been postponed...

Review: WandaVision is the first artistic triumph of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

A tribute to the sitcoms of old? In the Marvel Cinematic Universe?...

Related news

Algeria: Five civilians killed in bomb blast in Tebessa region

A homemade bomb killed five people and wounded three others in eastern Algeria on Thursday, the defence ministry said, the deadliest attack targeting civilians...

Turkey to begin mass COVID-19 vaccination on Thursday with Sinovac shot – Middle East Monitor

Turkey will start countrywide COVID-19 vaccinations on Thursday beginning with health workers, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday shortly after Sinovac's vaccine was...

Illinois replaces longest-serving legislative leader in US

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois House on Wednesday elected its first Black speaker to replace the longest-serving legislative leader in modern U.S. history,...