CAIRO, June 19 (UPI) -- Egypt allowed a fleet of U.S. Navy vessels and at least one Israeli ship to pass through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea, news media reported Saturday.
Al-Quds al-Arabi, an Arabic-language newspaper published in Britain, reported the group included a U.S. aircraft carrier, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said. Thousands of Egyptian soldiers were sent to the area to protect the ships during the canal passage.
DEBKAfile.com reported there were 11 U.S. warships led by the carrier USS Truman. The news Web site said all commercial and civilian traffic through the Suez was halted while the warships passed through Friday.
The fleet was one of the largest groups of U.S. warships to use the canal in years, al-Quds said.
Leaders of Egyptian opposition parties criticized the government for allowing the fleet passage. A copy of an 1888 treaty posted on the Egyptian government's Web site states the canal is to be open to warships of any nation at all times.