Israel says Iran warships to transit Suez for Syria

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
By Paul Martin

By Dan Williams

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Two Iranian warships planned to sail through the Suez canal en route to Syria on Wednesday, Israel said, calling it a “provocation” by the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian naval contingent described by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman would pose no significant military threat to Israel but could spell the closest-ever encounter by the forces of the two old foes, who are geographically distant.

Oil prices surged on the news. Brent crude rose to 29-month highs, helped by Middle East jitters over clashes in Iran, Yemen and Bahrain that raised concern about disruption to oil flows.

Brent crude rose $2.40 to $104.04 at 1708 GMT,

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