Freighter, recently run by Israelis, collided with high seas encounter

A trading vessel previously owned by an Israel-run company was attacked in the Indian Ocean on Saturday in what appeared to be the latest blow for blow in a grim regional conflict between Israel and Iran.

The ship, which until recently was owned by Zodiac Maritime, a London-based company run by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, was allegedly attacked by an Iranian drone or naval commandos, an Israeli national security official said. ‘speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss national security issues. The ship sustained minor damage, the official said. There were no injuries.

The ship was recently taken over by another unrelated company, according to a person familiar with the ship’s history.

The attack on the ship, which was heading from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to the port city of Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates, came as the United States and Iran scrambled to revive their 2015 nuclear deal , an effort that the Israeli government opposed.

It also happened around 10 days after the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency said an attack on one of its facilities had been foiled. But the satellite images of the site which were unveiled on Saturday showed that he had suffered significant damage.

Israel has remained silent on this attack. But the site, one of Iran’s main manufacturing centers for the production of the centrifuges, was on a target list that Israel presented to the Trump administration early last year.

Iran did not officially take responsibility for Saturday’s maritime attack, but Iranian media and media in the wider Middle East who are sympathetic to Iran have widely reported on the attack.

And in apparent reference to the attack, a Telegram channel run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, the foreign arm of the country’s powerful security apparatus, posted an old photo of a burning ship.

Israel and Iran have fought, often by proxy, in many Middle Eastern countries, on land and in the air, for years, but adversaries have recently opened a new front in their conflict, on the high seas.

Since 2019, Israel has attacked ships carrying Iranian oil and weapons across the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

Iran has engaged in its own maritime attacks. In March and April, Israeli ships came under Iranian fire, according to Israeli officials.

Saturday’s attack, Israel’s national security official said, was believed to have resulted from a miscalculation on the part of Iran, which it says may have been in possession of erroneous information regarding the ship’s ownership. , CSAV Tyndall.

In a statement, Zodiac Maritime, the Israel-run company, confirmed that it no longer owns the vessel. A database owned by the United Nations International Maritime Organization showed that CSAV Tyndall was now owned by another London-based company named Polar 5 LTD.

Since ships with ties to Israel began to come under fire in March and April, the United States has provided escorts to Israeli ships in the Persian Gulf and neighboring areas, and has issued warnings about the intentions. Iranian women to attack them, according to US and Israeli intelligence officials.

The last warning of a possible Iranian attack, from the US intelligence community, dates from May 31, the same day David Barnea, the new head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, took office, said an intelligence official.

Farnaz Fassihi contributed reporting.

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