US and Israeli officials have accused Iran of being behind an attack off the coast of Oman without providing evidence for the claim.
Late Tuesday, the Liberian-flagged tanker Pacific Zircon was hit by an explosive-laden drone, causing a hole in the hull but resulting in no injuries to the crew. The tanker is operated by Eastern Pacific Shipping, which is owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.
Gen. Erik Kurilla, the head of US Central Command, claimed in comments to The Wall Street Journal that Iran was responsible. “This unmanned aerial vehicle attack against a civilian vessel in this critical maritime strait demonstrates, once again, the destabilizing nature of Iranian malign activity in the region,” he said.
An Israeli official speaking to The Associated Press said it appeared the attack was carried out using a Shahed-136 exploding drone, which Iran has allegedly provided Russia. But the Israeli official offered no evidence to back up the claim.
Iran and Israel often accuse each other of attacking tankers in the region. Last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel attacked at least a dozen ships in the region going back to 2019. The targets were mostly Iranian vessels or ships carrying Iranian oil while transiting the Red Sea and other parts of the region.
The attack on the Pacific Zircon came a week after Israeli airstrikes targeted a truck convoy headed into Syria from Iraq that was said to be carrying Iranian fuel that killed at least 10 people. Anonymous Iraqi officials speaking to the media that the airstrikes were carried out with Israeli drones.