ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) – Two Iranian naval ships have sailed through Egypt’s Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, in a move likely to be keenly watched by Israel.

An Iranian naval ship travels through the Suez Canal near Ismailia, Cairo February 22, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

“Two Iranian ships crossed through the Suez Canal (on Thursday) following permission from the Egyptian armed forces,” a source in the canal authority said on Friday.

The destroyer and a supply ship could be on their way to the Syrian coast, the source added. Iran and Syria agreed to cooperate on naval training a year ago, and Tehran has no naval agreement with any other country in the region.

Two Iranian warships sailed along the strategic waterway on February 17 last year, in a move that Israel called a “provocation”.

Syria and Iran are hostile to Israel.

Egypt’s military, which has a close defence ties with the United States, has been governing the country since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak a year ago.

The Suez Canal cuts through Egypt and allows shipping to pass from the Middle East to Europe and vice versa, without going around southern Africa.

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