Iran’s Alborz warship has reportedly entered the Red Sea, emerging at a time of heightened tension on the key shipping route amid ongoing attacks on ships in response to the Israel-Hamas war.
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Monday that the vessel entered the Red Sea through the Bab al-Mandab strait, although it was not clear exactly when.
Tasnim did not provide details on the Alborz’s mission, but said Iranian warships had been operating in open waters to secure shipping lanes, fight piracy and perform other duties since 2009.
The Alvand-class destroyer was part of the Iranian navy’s 34th fleet and had been patrolling the Gulf of Aden, the northern Indian Ocean and the Bab Al-Mandab Strait since 2015, according to Iran’s Press TV.
The news comes as the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier strike group — which moved to the Eastern Mediterranean after Hamas’s deadly invasion of Israel on Oct. 7 — returns home to Norfolk, Va.
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The Ford was deployed to the Eastern Mediterranean so it could be in close proximity to Israel after the October 7 attacks.
The carrier remained in the Mediterranean while its escort ships sailed into the Red Sea, where Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis have been targeting ships since November to show their support for the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in its war with Israel.
In response, many major shipping companies have shifted their ships around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, adding exorbitant costs and delays.
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Houthi fighters attacked a Maersk container ship with missiles and small boats on Saturday and Sunday, causing the company to halt all Red Sea services for 48 hours.
Greg Wehner of Fox News and Reuters contributed to this report.