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US Military: Iran Commandeers, Releases Oil Tanker
This screengrab of a video released on Thursday shows what US Central Command officials described as Iranian commandos fast-dropping to the deck of a Liberian-flagged oil tanker on Wednesday near the Strait of Hormuz. (CENTCOM Twitter account)

US Military: Iran Commandeers, Releases Oil Tanker

The US Central Command has released a grainy, black and white video showing what it says are Iranian commandos dropping to the deck of a Liberian-flagged oil tanker cruising near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. The incident took place on Wednesday and was revealed on Thursday. The commandos took over the vessel, which the American military says was held for five hours before being released. The Central Command is responsible for the Middle East, from northeastern Africa into Asia and South Asia. The commandeered tanker was identified as the MT Wila, which apparently issued no distress calls. Iran issued no immediate statements of its own, and Iranian media made no mention of the incident. Tehran, through the naval forces of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has regularly harassed commercial vessels sailing in the area – through which an estimated one-fifth of the world’s oil supply passes – and on occasion has stopped and held them. This type of activity peaked last year just after an Iranian tanker was seized and held off Gibraltar for allegedly seeking to flout a European Union embargo on oil and other shipments headed to Syria.

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