Iranian warships pass Suez Canal

SINAI, Egypt, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) — Two Iranian warships passed through Egypt’s Suez Canal enroute to Syria Tuesday morning, a canal source and media said.

The two ships, 1,500-ton patrol frigate Alvand and 33,000-ton support ship Khark, have crossed the Suez Canal and are heading towards the Mediterranean Sea, Iranian English language satellite Press TV reported.

An official at the Suez Canal told Xinhua the two ships are to land in Syria through Mediterranean Sea.

Egypt approved the two warships’ requests to go through the Suez Canal last Friday, a day after it rejected their passage, the official said, adding that the Suez Canal authority had taken all the precautions needed to ensure that the ships pass safely.

Alvand is armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, while Khark has 250 crew members and can carry three helicopters, according to Press TV.

The TV said it is the first time since the victory of Islamic Revolution in 1979 for Iranian warships to pass the Suez Canal, a strategic international shipping route.

Israel said it takes a “grave view” of the warships’ passage and described Iran’s plans to send the ships through the canal to Syria as “provocative.”