Iran announces another navy drill in key Strait of Hormuz

Iran frequently organizes drills in the strait. Above, the Revolution Guard troops participate in a drill in 2015. (AFP/File)
Updated 21 February 2019
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Iran announces another navy drill in key Strait of Hormuz

  • Almost one third of oil trade by sea passes through Hurmuz
  • Missiles will be launched during the annual drill “Velayat-97”

TEHRAN: Iran’s navy says it will hold an annual drill in the strategic Strait of Hormuz as pressure mounts on the country months after the United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran, targeting its vital oil sector.
The strait is located at the mouth of the Arabian Gulf and is crucial to global energy supplies, with about a third of all oil traded at sea passing through it.
Iranian Admiral Hossein Khanzadi told state TV on Thursday the 3-day maneuvers will start on Friday and extend as far as the Sea of Oman and the fringes of the Indian Ocean.
He said submarines, warships, helicopters and surveillance planes will participate in the drill, dubbed as “Velayat-97.” The exercise will include missile launches from the vessels.
Iran regularly holds maneuvers in the strait.


UN's Middle East envoy urges Israeli ‘restraint’ as Netanyahu warns of further action in Gaza

Updated 5 min 34 sec ago
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UN's Middle East envoy urges Israeli ‘restraint’ as Netanyahu warns of further action in Gaza

NEW YORK: The United Nations' Middle East envoy urged the Security Council to condemn the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Gaza's Hamas toward Israel, saying that it dramatically increased the risk of escalation and a new conflict.

Nikolay Mladenov told the council on Tuesday that "a fragile calm seems to have taken hold." He urged Israel "to exercise maximum restraint as the situation remains very tense," and not use force "without the need for it."

During the latest bout of violence, Mladenov said that at least 103 rockets and mortars had been fired from Gaza toward Israel, while Israeli forces had conducted 42 airstrikes on various locations in Gaza and fired 16 shells toward Gaza, wounding seven Palestinians and destroying several buildings including Hamas offices and security buildings.

His comments came after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Tuesday that he was ready to order further action in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip after airstrikes in response to the rocket fire.

“I can tell you we are prepared to do a lot more. We will do what is necessary to defend our people and to defend our state,” Netanyahu told the US pro-Israel lobby AIPAC by video link after cutting short a trip to Washington to handle the crisis.

More to follow...