Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday warned Iran of a military response if it attempts to close the key Bab al-Mandab Strait on the Red Sea.
“If Iran tries to close Bab al-Mandab, I’m sure it will face a strong coalition which will prevent it,” Netanyahu said at a graduation ceremony of naval officers in the northern city of Haifa.
“Israel will be in that coalition too,” he said, but did not specify the other countries that would be part of it.
He said the sea provides Israel with many opportunities, and Israeli ships were able to reach a vast area thanks to it.
“This gives the state of Israel considerable power,” he added.
Last week, Saudi Arabia suspended crude oil shipments through the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait after two of its oil tankers were allegedly attacked by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels off Yemen’s coast.
Following the attacks, an Iranian military commander warned that the Red Sea would “no longer be safe” for U.S. vessels amid an ongoing war of words between U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian military officials.
The remarks, made by Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, come amid tensions between Tehran and Washington that have steadily mounted since Trump withdrew the U.S. from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the West.
“Never, ever threaten the U.S. again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have suffered,” Trump recently told his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on Twitter.
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