Israel’s Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz revealed that his country is involved in the US-led maritime security mission in the Strait of Hormuz to protect trade routes in the Gulf.
Speaking on Tuesday at a closed-door session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Katz said Israel is assisting the mission with intelligence and in other unspecified areas in which Israel has a relative advantage, according to the Hebrew-language Ynet news site.
Katz also instructed the foreign ministry to work with all relevant parties in Israel and the US government to ensure that Israel is integrated into the Gulf security, according to the report, following a recent visit to Abu Dhabi in which he discussed the “Iranian threat” with a senior Emirati official.
The report did not specify whether Katz said Israel would send naval vessels to take part in the mission. A report from the Kan public broadcaster last month said that Israel was not expected to send ships, but would provide intelligence.
The minister reportedly also praised the UK’s announcement that it would join the operation, which he said was of “great importance.” The UK Ministry of Defense on Monday said it “will draw largely on assets already in the region” to assist the mission, pointing to two Royal Navy ships already stationed in the Strait of Hormuz – the frigate HMS Montrose and the destroyer HMS Duncan – which have so far escorted 47 ships through the narrow waterway.
Britain is the only other country to commit to participation in “Operation Sentinel,” and is one of the countries which has been most affected by Iranian aggression in the strait, a shipping channel through which 20% of the world’s crude oil is exported.
[Sources: The Jewish Press, World Israel News, The Times of Israel]