Israel accuses Iran of hitting a tanker off Oman by a ‘drone attack’

Israel accuses Iran of hitting a tanker off Oman by a ‘drone attack’


Israel blamed Iran on Wednesday after a drone strike allegedly hit a tanker operated by an Israeli-owned company transporting gasoil off the coast of Oman.

The Pacific Zircon was “taken by a projectile about 150 miles off the coast of Oman … on 15 May 1910 any charge leaked.”

“There is some minor damage to the ship’s hull but no spilled cargo or flooding,” said the company, which is owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer — one of two sons of shipping magnate Sammy Ofer, who died in 2011.

According to Samir Madani, co-founder of the website, an online oil transportation research company, the tanker had 42,000 tons of gas oil on board and was bound for Buenos Aires.

The Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet said it was aware of the incident.

UK Maritime Trade Operations, a British observer, also said he was aware of the incident.

– “Iranian provocation” –

An Israeli official told AFP the attack on the tanker was “an Iranian provocation” aimed at “disturbing the environment” before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Sunday.

The official, who asked for anonymity, said the attack was carried out using “the same drones that the Iranians are selling to the Russians for use in Ukraine… the Shahed 136,” an unmanned aircraft equipped with a warhead.

The Israeli official dismissed suggestions that the attack on the ship, partly owned by Idan Ofer, amounted to an “Iranian victory” against Israel.

“It’s not an Israeli tanker,” the official said.

Iran and Israel are bitter enemies, and a “shadow war” between the two powers has seen a spate of attacks on ships from both sides, which they blame on each other.

Iran has been blamed for a July 29, 2021 drone strike on an Israel-affiliated tanker sailing off the coast of Oman, MV Mercer Street, that killed a former British soldier and a Romanian national.

Tehran denied responsibility for the strike.

– Iran-US tensions –

Rising tensions between archenemies Washington and Tehran in recent years have also prompted incidents between their navies, including in August when Washington said it prevented an Iranian ship from capturing a US naval drone in Gulf waters bound for the global energy supply are of crucial importance.

Iran and world powers have held talks to revive a landmark 2015 deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions lifting.

The United States, Britain, France and Germany have submitted a request to the UN nuclear watchdog, blaming Iran for failing to cooperate with the agency, diplomats told AFP this week.

“The risk of attacks on shipping and energy infrastructure in the wider region is increasing, mainly due to a lack of progress in US-Iranian nuclear diplomacy,” said Torbjorn Soltvedt, Middle East analyst at risk intelligence firm Verisk Maplecroft.

A decision by Washington to exert further sanctions pressure on Tehran has increased the risk of further attacks, Soltvedt said.

Iran has been rocked by two months of mass protests – the biggest in years – following the death in September of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was arrested by Iran’s notorious morality police for allegedly violating her strict dress code on women.

“Ongoing mass protests against the Iranian government also make it more likely that Tehran will try to foment unrest in the wider region as a diversionary tactic,” Soltvedt said.

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