European warships are expected to arrive to Israel in the coming days, docking in the port of Haifa in the country’s north where a French warship has been pictured by i24NEWS.
The French embassy in Israel told i24NEWS that the ship was docked in Haifa for “technical reasons”, but according to western security sources, it is expected to be joined by warships from Italy, Spain, and Britain in the coming days.
Israel's defense ministry referred an inquiry regarding the presence of the French vessel to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which did not immediately offer a comment.
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Haifa port, on Israel’s northern coast, often hosts ships from allied naval forces. In July 2017, a French navy vessel served as the platform for a joint exercise for underwater commandos from the Israeli, French, and US navies.
In the 1980's and 90's Haifa served as the home port of the US Navy's Sixth Fleet, but US ships stopped docking there during the Second Intifada (Uprising) in the year 2000.
In June 2017, the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier anchored off Haifa’s coast marking the first time a US aircraft carrier had visited an Israeli port in nearly two decades.
The expected arrival of the European ships follows a report by i24NEWS on Tuesday that two divisions of Syrian soldiers, trained and led by officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Al-Quds special forces, have been mobilized on the country’s borders -- including its frontier with Israel.
The IDF, meanwhile, is currently in the midst of a 10-day training exercise simulating a simultaneous confrontation with Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north amid an ongoing spat between the Defense Ministry Ombudsman and the IDF General Staff over the army's readiness for war.