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Turkish warships harass Israeli freighters. Israeli missile boats off Cyprus

• www.debka.com
Increasingly assertive Turkey is setting the scene for clashes in the eastern Mediterranean. Since Thursday, Sept. 29, Turkish warships have been harassing Israeli merchant vessels in waters off Cyprus, debkafile's military sources report. They come close enough to establish wireless communication and caution the Israeli vessels they are in contravention of international law and ordering them to change course. The Israeli crews mostly ignore these "orders", treating them as Ankara's latest bid to assert Turkish naval mastery of the Eastern Mediterranean. But the situation is getting explosive enough to spark a major incident.
Over the weekend, Israeli Air Force planes circled near the sites of the incidents but not directly over the Turkish vessels. At the same time Israeli missile ships sailed close to Cyprus's Exclusive Economic Zone waters, where the Houston-based Noble Energy began drilling for natural gas on Sept. 19 in the face of Turkish threats. The rig is situated 160 kilometers south of Cyprus adjacent to Israel's Leviathan gas field.

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