Iranian media confirms IRGC's seizure of Israeli-linked ship near Strait of Hormuz
    UPDATED

    WORLD  13 April 2024 - 16:31

    Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized an Israeli-linked cargo ship in the Strait of Hormuz on April 13, Reuters reports citing Iranian state-run IRNA news agency, days after Tehran warned it could close the area to sea traffic.

    IRNA reported that a Guards helicopter had boarded and taken into Iranian waters the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries.
     
    Shipping security agencies had earlier reported a vessel being boarded and seized by "regional authorities" in the Hormuz Strait between the United Arab Emirates and Iran.
     
    The Aries is leased by international shipping line MSC from Gortal Shipping, an affiliate of Zodiac Maritime, Zodiac said in a statement, adding that MSC is responsible for all vessel activities. Zodiac is partly owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer.
     
    The incident comes amid rising regional tensions since the start of Israel's campaign in Gaza in October, with Israel and its ally the United States clashing repeatedly with Iranian-aligned groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

    15:35

    According to media reports, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy had seized the Israeli-linked MSC ARIES container ship near the Strait of Hormuz.

    A video first reported by The Associated Press showed commandos raiding a ship near the key waterway by helicopter.

    The vessel involved was the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries, a container ship associated with London-based Zodiac Maritime. Zodiac Maritime is part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.

    Zodiac declined to comment and referred questions to MSC, which did not immediately respond.

    The MSC Aries had been last located off Dubai heading toward the Strait of Hormuz on Friday. The ship had turned off its tracking data, which has been common for Israeli-affiliated ships moving through the region.

    The video showed the attack earlier reported by the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations. It described the vessel as being “seized by regional authorities” in the Gulf of Oman off the Emirati port city of Fujairah, without elaborating.

    In the video, the commandos rappelled down onto a stack of containers sitting on the deck of the vessel.

    Though the AP could not immediately verify the video, it corresponded to known details of the boarding and the helicopter involved appeared to be one used by Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which has carried out other ship raids in the past.

    The incident comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the West, with Israel bracing for an attack from Tehran after an April 1 strike on a building in the Iranian embassy compound in the Syrian capital of Damascus, which killed several Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders, including two generals.

    Caliber.Az

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