Israel’s navy has stepped up its activities in the Red Sea “exponentially” in the face of growing Iranian threats to its shipping. The Red Sea also has deep strategic significance by hosting key global shipping routes, including the Suez Canal and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.
Israel has said that it is ready to respond even further away to attacks on it’s shipping as almost all of it’s imports enter by sea.
Iran has already attributed a series of attacks and mishaps on it’s ships and vessels to Israel. Iran for years anchored a ship, the MV Saviz, off Yemen that was believed to be a base for its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. Israel says that its ships face threats not only from Iran but even from Islamic terrorist groups operating in the region.
During the 2006 war, Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists successfully struck an Israeli naval vessel killing four soldiers. Gaza’s Hamas militant group, which has developed a small squad of naval commandos, has openly threatened to attack Israeli vessels and ports. Hamas frogmen managed to infiltrate an Israeli beach during a 2014 war before they were killed. In May 2021, Israel thwarted an attempt by Hamas to launch a torpedo-like underwater drone at Israeli targets.
Israel’s most important responsibility is protecting its natural gas platforms in the Mediterranean Sea. Israel says that it has to increase its presence in the Red Sea to safeguard its incoming and outbound vessels as also its coastlines.