An Iranian ship in the Red Sea was damaged in a mine attack said to be carried out by Israel, the New York Times reported.
The Saviz, registered as a cargo ship but deployed for military use, was hit on Tuesday, as talks got underway in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers. Images of flames and smoke coming from the vessel were seen in Iranian news reports and on social media; it is not known how badly damaged the vessel is or if there were any casualties.
The Times quoted an American official as saying that Israel had notified the United States that it had struck the Saviz on Tuesday morning. The US official also said that the attack was likely timed to allow the US aircraft carrier, the Dwight D. Eisenhower, to get away from the area of the attack. He said Israel called the attack a retaliation for earlier Iranian strikes on Israeli vessels.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps blamed Israel for the attack on social media. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the attack. Iran’s Foreign Ministry acknowledged on Wednesday that the ship, which it called a cargo ship, was damaged in an explosion but that there were no casualties. It said that “technical investigations” are underway.
In recent months Iran has been accused of striking Israeli-owned ships, including the February attack on the Israeli-owned MV Helios Ray, a Bahamian-flagged cargo ship, in the Gulf of Oman, and a March attack by an Iranian missile on an Israeli-owned container ship, the Lori, in the Arabian Sea.