Iranian warships dock in Sudan, days after alleged Israeli airstrike

Naval commanders of two states to meet, as Tehran conveys ‘message of peace and friendship’

Ilan Ben Zion is an AFP reporter and a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of an Iranian warship (Alex Hicks, Wikimedia Commons)
Illustrative photo of an Iranian warship (Alex Hicks, Wikimedia Commons)

Two Iranian warships docked at Port Sudan on Monday, less than a week after a munitions plant in the Sudanese capital went up in flames in what Khartoum has claimed was an Israeli airstrike.

The helicopter carrier Khark and the corvette destroyer Shahid Naqdi arrived at the Red Sea port on Monday, semi-official Iranian news agencies reported.

According to the Iranian Navy, the ships were dispatched to the Red Sea to convey “the message of peace and friendship to the neighboring countries and ensuring security for transportation and shipping against sea piracy.”

The Iranian semi-official Fars News Agency reported that the ships’ commanders were scheduled to meet with the commander of the Sudanese Navy during their stay at Port Sudan.

The Khark has a maximum speed of 21.5 knots, and the Shahid Naqdi 20 knots; therefore, the flotilla could make the 2,682-mile voyage from Bandar Abbas, Iran, to Port Sudan in approximately five days. According to the official Iranian news outlet PressTV, however, the ships set sail from Bandar Abbas in September to patrol the waters off the Horn of Africa.

Khartoum claimed that the Wednesday inferno at the Yarmouk Complex outside the capital was the result of an Israeli airstrike. Various reports posited that the facility produced weaponry for Iran and its proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas.

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