DUBAI: An Israeli-owned cargo ship was damaged in a suspected drone attack by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Indian Ocean, a US defence official said today.
“We are aware of reports that there was a suspected IRGC-initiated Shahed-136 UAV (that) struck a civilian motor vessel in the Indian Ocean,” the official said, confirming the attack yesterday and adding that “the ship incurred minor damage” and there were “no injuries”.
Maritime security company Ambrey said the Malta-flagged, French-operated container ship was reportedly damaged when the unmanned aerial vehicle exploded close to the vessel.
“The vessel was managed by an Israeli-affiliated company, which was assessed to be the reason why it was targeted,” Ambrey said, adding that in the days before to the attack, the ship’s tracking transmissions had stopped shortly after departing port in the UAE.
The reported attack comes almost a week after Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized an Israel-linked cargo ship in the southern Red Sea.
The Houthis, declaring themselves part of the “axis of resistance” of Iran-affiliated groups, have launched a series of drone and missile strikes targeting Israel since October, following an unprecedented attack by Hamas fighters on Israel.
Israel has vowed to “crush” Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, after the Palestinian group killed about 1,200 people and took around 240 hostages on Oct 7, according to Israeli authorities.
Gaza’s Hamas government says nearly 15,000 people have been killed in Israel’s relentless aerial bombardment and ground operations in the Palestinian territory.