In the midst of the international Israel’s attack on a humanitarian aid convoy, Israel has quietly deployed three nuclear submarines off the coast of Iran. This is the latest escalation by Israel against Iran, which the Israeli government has accused of developing nuclear technology.

The submarines of Flotilla 7 — the Dolphin, the Tekuma, and the Leviathan — have visited the Gulf before. But now Israel has decided to create a permanent presence of at least one vessel.

Each of the submarines has a crew of 35 to 50, and can launch a nuclear cruise missile. The vessels can remain at sea for about 50 days and stay submerged up to 1,150ft below the surface for at least a week.

Some of the cruise missiles are equipped with the most advanced nuclear warheads in the Israeli arsenal.

According to an Israeli military source who spoke to the London Times, the deployment is designed to act as a deterrent, as well as to help gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents.

Although Israel has not admitted it has a nuclear program, widely available evidence has shown that the Israeli government has at least thirty nuclear warheads, and possibly many more.

Israel has not signed on to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and has refused to allow inspection of its nuclear reactor at Dimona.