Algeria-Israel: Israeli submarine reportedly ‘humiliated’ at high sea

Reports of an Israeli submarine entering Algerian waters and being pursued by the Algerian Navy have been released by defense experts. The crew of the Israeli submersible was reportedly humiliated by being forced to the surface. Either country did not officially report the incident.

Did the Algerian and Israeli navies come close to a naval battle in recent days? This is, in any case, the information reported on Thursday evening, September 30, by Darko Todorovski, a journalist specializing in defense issues.

“Off the Algerian coast, an Israeli Dolphin submarine tried to follow a training launch of a Club-S cruise missile from an Algerian submarine Project 636, but in turn, it was discovered and pursued by two submarines of Project 636. They forced it to the surface and leave the area,” he said on his Twitter account.

On 29 and 30 September 2021, the Algerian Navy carried out exercises in the 2nd military region, in the northwest of the country, on the border with Morocco. Several vessels were engaged during these maneuvers, including Project 636 submarines.

These Russian-made submersibles have a reputation for being particularly quiet. Algeria has six of them equipped with Russian Kalibr Club-S cruise missiles with a range of 300 kilometers.

A Kalibr missile was fired during this exercise. It should be noted that, on September 26, the Moroccan Arabic-language news website reported the presence of “an Israeli submarine in the Strait of Gibraltar”.

Have the Israelis pushed their curiosity to the point of approaching the maneuver zone? Menadefense, the Algerian site specializing in defense issues, confirmed on Friday, October 1, that an Israeli submarine was present in the western side of Algerian territorial waters. But not during the exercise of the Algerian Navy.

“According to our information, absolutely nothing happened during this exercise, no threatening presence was detected, contrary to what has been reported by some on social networks. A very large perimeter had been cleared of commercial traffic precisely to avoid incidents or prying eyes.”

“It was during the preparation of the exercise, on September 27, that an incident occurred. An Israeli Dolphin-class submarine was spotted by passive means, then tracked down and forced to surface in international waters and leave the area,” writes Menadefense.

Akram Kharief, the director of this specialized site, explained that this is not the Israeli army’s first approach to Algerian territory.

“In particular, there was the episode of October 1988,” he said. According to him, the Israeli submarine attempt was to be an intelligence mission. The Algerian state considers Morocco and Israel to be hostile entities.

They were, once again, designated as such by General Said Chengriha, the Chief of Staff of the Algerian army, in a speech delivered during exercises in the 2nd military region. The political and military alliance between Rabat and Tel Aviv is perceived as a threat by Algiers.

“What is positive for the Algerian Navy is that this operation was conducted in a very modern and fine way, without brutality. The Algerian Navy transformed this Israeli incursion into an anti-submarine exercise,” said Akram Kharief.

Humiliation

A retired Algerian naval officer confirmed to Sputnik journalist that the command in charge of the operation had respected “the rules of engagement regarding the presence of potentially hostile vessels in territorial waters.”

“The Israeli crew was forced to surface, and this is considered a humiliation. The situation could have escalated, as it is a violation of territorial sovereignty,” he stressed.

“However, the Israelis could say that they had taken the wrong route, much like NATO bombers flying over the Black Sea and then being escorted by planes after violating Russian airspace. It is clear that if the submarine had opened its tubes to fire, it would have been perceived as an act of hostility, and the Algerian Navy would have retaliated on the spot,” added the officer who requested anonymity.

According to him, the Algerian Navy has engaged particularly effective means of deterrence against the crew of the Israeli Dolphin.

“In addition to the two submarines of Project 636, the Algerian command dispatched a Super Lynx Mk – 140 submersible hunter helicopter. This aircraft is equipped with MU90 torpedoes and could have sent the enemy vessel to the bottom,” he assures.

The question which arises is to know what the Israeli submarine was doing in Morocco? “It is possible that it prepared a logistics dock or an armament dock in a Moroccan port for future missions in the western Mediterranean. And it is obvious that the only target is Algeria. In my opinion, Following this episode, we can expect a strengthening of anti-submarine surveillance from Algeria. The command will certainly be more severe in the area and can count on the skills of its Algerian submariners,” analyzes the retired soldier.

However, neither the Israeli army nor even the Algerian army has confirmed or denied, the existence of this incident on the high seas.

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