Israeli Channel 13 said that Turkish ships recently intercepted an Israeli research ship sailing off the coast of Cyprus, and forced it to leave.
The channel quoted on Saturday evening, Israeli high-ranking sources familiar with the details of the accident, saying that "about two weeks ago, Turkish ships intercepted and expelled an Israeli research ship sailing off the coast of Cyprus."
The channel's political correspondent, Barak Rafid, explained that ships from the Turkish Navy had intercepted the research vessel "Bat Galim" affiliated to the "Sea Research Center", which is within the powers of the Israeli Ministry of Energy.
The correspondent quoted sources as saying that the Israeli ship was on a mission whose objectives were not revealed, as it was intercepted and expelled by the Turkish navy while it was sailing in the Cypriot territorial waters.
On the Israeli ship were researchers from Ben Gurion University in Beersheba accompanied by a Cypriot geologist who conducted a joint study with the consent of the Cypriot government, but the details and type of this study were not disclosed.
Details of the confrontation
According to Israeli officials, the Turkish navy ships approached the Israeli research vessel, and the naval officers contacted the ship's captain and began interrogating him about his activities in the area, even though he was in an area over which the Turks had no authority, as the Israeli side says.
Turkish naval officers asked the captain of the Israeli ship to leave immediately and refrain from continuing the search, and the Israeli ship was forced to stop operations and sail to another area.
What is Israel afraid of?
It should be noted that Ankara signed a few weeks ago with the Libyan government of reconciliation, an agreement defining the maritime economic borders between Libya and Turkey in the Mediterranean, which raised the ire of Greece, Cyprus and Egypt.
The Israeli channel said that the Turkish-Libyan agreement may have a significant impact on Israel, in light of the Tel Aviv plan to extend pipelines from the gas fields it uses to Cyprus and Greece and then to Italy, as Israel aims to use this pipeline to export gas to all of Europe.
Military exercises in Cyprus
The incident of the Israeli research vessel interception coincided with the announcement by the Israeli army of the conclusion of the international training "The Thrones Conflict" conducted by the Israeli commando and air force brigade on the island of Cyprus with the participation of soldiers of the special units "Agouz", "Maghlan" and "Dovdvan", in addition to squadrons of helicopter gunships and aircraft Transport, drones and squadron of "enemy simulation" aircraft, as well as Special Rescue Unit 669.
During the training, which lasted for several days and ended last week, the Special Forces and the Air Force trained to face a threat in a new and unknown geographical area, simulating scenarios of the Northern Front.
According to IDF spokesperson Avichai Adrai, "nightly intrusions, particularly in mountainous and complex areas, were attacked, attacking enemy positions, in addition to transporting ground forces, supporting the ground forces, and providing the equipment with air."
The forces also trained to provide helicopters with fuel and rescue pilots who evacuated their planes and evacuated the wounded, all in the face of helicopters and combat forces emulating the enemy, in the words of the Israeli military spokesman.