Israeli Officials Say Iran Behind Indian Ocean Attack on Cargo Ship

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The Tyndall cargo ship, which was attacked in the Indian Ocean on Saturday.
The Tyndall cargo ship, which was attacked in the Indian Ocean on Saturday.Credit: Giwrgos Mertis

An commercial ship previously under Israeli ownership was hit by an unidentified weapon in the northern Indian Ocean on Saturday, causing only mild damage and no casualties. 

Israeli defense officials, confirming earlier reports by Lebanese network Al Mayadeen, said they believe Iran was behind the attack on the ship, Tyndall, which had been owned by a company chaired by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer.

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The ship was not flying an Israeli flag nor were its personnel Israeli. Zodiac Maritime Ltd, a London-headquartered international ship management company reported to have owned the ship, said it did not own or manage the CSAV Tyndall. A source familiar with its fleet said the company had sold a vessel several months ago.

According to the Hezbollah-affiliated network, citing "reliable" but unidentified sources, a fire broke out on the ship after the strike.

The incident, the report said, occurred when it was en route to the UAE from the port of Jedda in Saudi Arabia, where the ship was docked.

No party has claimed responsibility for the incident, and there was no official comment from Israel.

Al Mayadeen quotes one of the sources saying it is “remarkable” that the alleged attack follows Iranian media reports of a sabotage attempt on a factory producing parts of nuclear centrifuges last week.

The attack also comes on the heels of increased tensions at sea between Israel and Iran, with similar strikes on Israeli-owned ships occurring earlier in the year.

In April, a cargo ship was struck off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, with Israel placing the blame on Iran.  Two days earlier, Iran had vowed revenge against Israel following an explosion in Iran's Natanz nuclear facility. An Iranian command ship was also hit the previous week in the Red Sea, an attack which was attributed to Israel by the New York Times.

In March, an Iranian missile also hit an Israeli-owned vessel making its way from Tanzania to India, with another ship hit in February in the Gulf of Oman