USS Cole (Archive photo)
Photo: AP

US warship heads back to Mediterranean amid Lebanon crisis

USS Cole making its way back to Mediterranean as crisis between western-backed coaltion and Hizbullah-led opposition escalates

A US warship, which was deployed off Lebanon in February amid concern over Beirut's political crisis, crossed Egypt's Suez Canal on Sunday on its way to the Mediterranean, an official with the canal authority told AFP.


"The USS Cole has crossed the Suez Canal and is headed to the Mediterranean," the official said, adding he did not know its exact destination.


The United States sent the guided-missile destroyer to waters off the coast of Lebanon on February 28, in what US officials said was "a show of support for regional stability" amid concerns over Lebanon's protracted political crisis.


US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had defended the earlier deployment saying it was designed to show Washington's readiness to defend the interests of its allies in the region.


In March the USS Cole had left the region for the Gulf.


Fighting between supporters of the Western-backed ruling coalition and the Hizbullah-led opposition which erupted in Beirut on Wednesday swiftly spread around the country and has killed 42 people.


Lebanon has been without a president since last November amid political feuding between the ruling majority and the opposition, backed by Syria and Iran.


The majority accuses Syria of blocking efforts to elect a new president in Lebanon, which was under Syrian military domination for 29 years until Damascus withdrew its troops in April 2005.


פרסום ראשון: 05.11.08, 23:58
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