Iran's 22nd naval fleet docked in Sudan on Monday, according to a report by Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency, days after the African nation blamed Israel for attacking a weapons factory in the capital of Khartoum.
According to the report, the fleet consists of a warship and a destroyer, and "is aimed at conveying the message of peace and friendship to the neighboring countries" as well as preventing piracy in shipping lanes.
The fleet is docked in Port Sudan, the country's main port city, located on the Red Sea. The commanders of the fleet are set to meet with their Sudanese counterparts, according to the report, which also noted that the Iranian navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the nearby Gulf of Aden since 2008, when Somali pirates hijacked an Iranian cargo ship.
The report also noted that the route is an important energy corridor for Iran, as oil passes through it on its way to the Suez Canal and the West.
On Friday, Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir blamed Israel of carryiing out the alleged strike on the Khartoum factory last week, in reaction to what he said were changes in the region. "The reckless behavior is a manifestation of Israel's concerns and nervousness about the political and social upheavals in the region and about the progress of Sudan," the Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported him as saying, in an address to the nation on the occasion of the Muslim celebration of Eid Al-Adha.
On Sunday, the British Sunday Times published a detailed report on what it claims was an Israeli attack on the Sudanese facility. Israeli officials have thus far refused to comment on the incident.