A cargo ship belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) was attacked in the Red Sea off the coast of Eritrea, this was reported by Al Arabiya TV, citing unnamed sources.
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency identified the ship as the Saviz.
“The vessel Iran Saviz has been stationed in the Red Sea for the past few years to support Iranian commandos sent on the commercial vessel (anti-piracy) escort missions,” Tasnim News reported.
Al Arabiya cited the sources as saying the vessel was attacked off the coast of Eritrea and was affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, but provided no evidence to support the assertion.
According to New York Times, an American official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the Israelis had called the attack retaliation for earlier Iranian strikes on Israeli vessels, and that the Saviz had been damaged below the waterline. The vessel’s precise location in the Red Sea was not immediately clear.
It was the latest in a reported series of attacks on Israeli- and Iranian-owned cargo ships since late February in which Tel Aviv and Tehran accused each other of responsibility.
The incidents have occurred since U.S. President Joe Biden took office in January with a commitment to rejoin world powers’ 2015 nuclear deal with Iran
Iran and the United States on April 6th launched indirect talks in Vienna that included the other powers on ways to revive the deal. Both Iran and the United States called the talks “constructive.”
Earlier on April 6th, before news broke about the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in comments to lawmakers of his right-wing Likud party, said there should be no return to the “dangerous” nuclear accord and added:
“In parallel we must continue to fend off Iranian belligerence in our region. And this threat is no theoretical matter. I’m not uttering it rhetorically. We must take action in the face of the fanatical regime in Iran, which simply threatens to wipe us off the face of the earth.”
According to a US intelligence report, Israel has targeted at least a dozen vessels bound for Syria and mostly carrying Iranian oil out of concern that petroleum profits are funding terrorism in the Middle East. Israel has also targeted several alleged Iranian convoys of weapons and military equipment going to Syria and Lebanon.