Dolphin Submarine
Dolphin SubmarineIsrael news photo: IDF

Defense sources confirmed Sunday that an Israeli Dolphin class submarine had sailed through the Egyptian Suez Canal last month on the way to exercises in the Persian Gulf. The move is seen as a warning to Iran that Israel and Egypt are willing to cooperate against Tehran’s nuclear threat.

Israel owns three Dolphin submarines, whose conventional missile tubes have been formatted, analysts speculate, to also fire nuclear tipped warheads. By traversing the Suez Canal, the submarines can reach the Persian Gulf shores close to Iran in a matter of days, rather than the weeks required to sail around Africa otherwise.

Sources said the submarine sailed through the Suez Canal above water, in a departure from previous Egyptian policy, which had not seen an Israeli warship sail through the canal since 2005. The submarine then headed to Israel’s naval base in Eilat, where it took place in a naval exercise.

Egypt would neither confirm nor deny that the Israeli submarine had passed through the canal. A source said such an event would not be unusual since the two countries are not at war.

Also on Sunday, London’s Sunday Times reported that Saudi Arabia had given tacit approval to Israel for use of its airspace in any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Officials in the Prime Minister's Bureau denied the report, however.