Tel Aviv takes a step closer to war with Tehran as two Israeli warships sail through the Suez Canal within cruise-missile range of Iran.
Earlier this week, two Israel Navy gunboats, the Hanit and the Eliat, passed through the Suez Canal and across the Red Sea.
In a Thursday interview with the Times, a senior Israeli defense official said the move should be seen as serious preparations for a long-expected attack on Iranian nuclear sites.
"This is preparation that should be taken seriously. Israel is investing time in preparing itself for the complexity of an attack on Iran," said the Israeli defense official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity.
"These maneuvers are a message to Iran that Israel will follow up on its threats," he added.
The move comes ten days after a submarine — believed to be nuclear-armed — made a similar crossing and headed from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.
The move, apparently coordinated with Egypt, is seen as a warning message to Iran that the Netanyahu government is not having second thoughts about its military plans against Iran.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit confirmed the crossings, but refused to comment on whether the deployment should be seen as a warning to Iran.
Tel Aviv, the alleged possessor of the sole nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, accuses Iran of secretly enriching weapons-grade uranium to attack Israel.
Iran says it has no such intentions and has asserted that its uranium enrichment is a peaceful drive to produce electricity.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has conducted the greatest number of inspections in the history of the organization on Iran’s nuclear activities, has not found any evidence to show Tehran has been pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
Incoming IAEA Chief Yukiya Amano also said recently that there is no conclusive evidence to prove that Tehran is enriching weapons-grade uranium.