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Israel is threatening Iran with a military response if it tries to close Bab al-Mandab

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday Israel would deploy its army if Tehran tried to close the Bab al-Mandab strait linking the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

Last week, Saudi Arabia suspended the passage of oil tankers across the strait after Houthis allied with Iran attacked two tankers in the waterway.

The Houthis, who previously threatened to close the strait, said last week they had the ability to hit Saudi ports and other targets in the Red Sea.

Iran has not threatened to close Bab al-Mandab but said it would close the Strait of Hormuz if it was prevented from exporting oil.

“If Iran tries to close the Bab al-Mandab Strait, I am sure it will find itself facing an international coalition and will be determined to prevent it,” Netanyahu said. “This alliance will also include all of Israel’s military branches.”

Netanyahu was speaking during a parade of new naval officers in Haifa . Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a separate speech that Israel “recently heard of threats to damage Israeli ships in the Red Sea.” He gave no details on that.

Ships bound for Israel, especially from Asia, pass through the straits to Eilat and continue through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean. Ships going to Jordan’s Aqaba port or Saudi ports must follow the same route.