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U.S. report: Israel sets up base in Eritrea to monitor Iran

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
 
December 17, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - Israel has opened a military bases in Eritrea to monitor and avert rival Iran’s hostile activities in the Red Sea which could eventually pose a threat to its national security, a report by Stratfor Global Intelligence claims.
 
According to the US-based strategy consultancy firm, Israeli has deployed its intelligence units, docks and small naval units at the selected bases in Dahlak Island and Massawa port of Eritrea.
 
“Israel’s presence in Eritrea is very focused and precise, involving intelligence gathering in the Red Sea and monitoring Iran’s activities,” the report said.
 
It claims the Israeli intelligence unit will be tasked with, amongst other objectives, tracking down Iranian arms smuggling across Eritrea, much of which is allegedly bound to militants in the Middle East who are hostile to Israel.
 
It is alleged that ships loaded with rockets and other weaponry travel through Eritrea to Sudan and Egypt, from where the cargo is then transferred via land routes to the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip or shipped to militants in Syria and Lebanon.
 
In the past, Israeli planes have allegedly carried out air strikes against arms convoys and other targets in Sudan.
 
Last October, tensions between Sudan and Israel heightened after Israel did not deny carrying out an air strike against the Yarmouk missile factory on the outskirts Khartoum.
 
Khartoum said Israeli attacks are provocative incursions and issued a warning, saying Sudan has the right to retaliate.
 
According to the report, Eritrea also accommodates Iranian military operations “relevant to Tehran’s larger goal of controlling the Bab el-Mandab Strait and the water route to the Suez Canal.”

“In exchange for resources, possibly including modest amounts of cash and weapons, Eritrea has exhibited a willingness to become a base of support for Middle Eastern powers,” it added.
 
There was no official response from the government in Asmara with regards to the report.
 
(ST)