Reports in Arab and Iranian media on Tuesday said an Iranian cargo ship came under attack in the Red Sea in an apparent Israeli attack. It’s not clear from the reports how much damage the attacks caused or if there were any injuries.
The Iranian news agency Tasnim reported that the ship was attacked with a limpet mine, a magnetic explosive device that is usually attached to the hull of the targeted vessel.
Tasnim identified the ship as the Saviz and said it “has been stationed in the Red Sea for the past few years to support Iranian commandos sent on commercial vessel escort missions.”
An anonymous US official told The New York Times on Tuesday night that Israel was responsible for the blast and notified the US of the attack.
Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that since 2019, Israel had attacked at least a dozen ships in the region. The targeted vessels were bound for Syria and were mostly Iranian or carrying Iranian oil. The report said the Israelis used limpet mines in one of the more recent attacks that targeted a vessel anchored off Lebanon.
Israel has blamed Iran for recent attacks on Israeli-owned ships in the region, but it’s not clear if Tehran was responsible. Besides claims from Israeli officials, there’s no evidence to show that Tehran was behind any recent incidents.
Considering Tehran is seeking sanctions relief from the US through a revival of the nuclear deal, it has no reason to escalate tensions in the region. Israel, on the other hand, is strongly opposed to the US returning to the agreement and has a history of taking covert action against Iran.