An Iranian cargo ship was struck by a mysterious explosive on Thursday, causing damage to the ship and leaving a fire.
Iranian media shared a video purporting to show one Iranian vessel, the Shahr E Kord, damaged by an explosive. According to Iranian media, the explosive hit the ship and set off a small fire.
Twitter user Aurora Intel tweeted, “Additional footage has been released of the fire aboard the SHAHR E KORD from yesterday’s event. [The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line] Group spox has stated ‘Shahre Kord cargo ship was attacked by an explosive object on Wednesday in intl waters of Mediterranean.'”
According to Iranian media, the fire on the ship was quickly contained.
Ali Ghiasian, a spokesman for the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line Group (IRISL Group) said, “Fortunately, none of the crew of the Iranian commercial vessel were harmed in this terrorist attack.”
Ghiasian said the Iranian ship was headed for Europe, though the latest ship tracking information by Marine Traffic, shows the Shahr e Kord floating just off the coast from the Syrian port city of Baniyas.
The Wall Street Journal reported, according to U.S. and regional officials, that Israel has been behind at least a dozen attacks on Iranian shipments, mostly carrying oil, bound for Syria and other countries in the Middle East. The strategy of attacking Iranian shipments reportedly comes amid concern the shipments are bringing profit to Iran that it can then use to sponsor terrorist activity in the region.
The latest incident involving the Shahr e Kord comes just over a week after Israel blamed Iran for an attack on an Israeli cargo vessel, the MV Helios Ray. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “Iran is Israel’s greatest enemy, I’m determined to block it.” Netanyahu also appeared to describe an ongoing response to Iran, saying, “We’re striking at it throughout the region.”
Responding to the Wall Street Journal’s reporting, Israeli security cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi told Tel Aviv radio 102 FM, “We do not comment on the campaign we are waging, in the operational regard.”
According to Reuters, Israeli defense officials also declined to comment when asked if Israel was involved in the Shahr e Kord incident.
Aurora Intel tweeted additional images purporting to show the extent of the damage. “Unconfirmed reports circulating of an ‘event’ aboard the #Iran|ian SHAHR E KORD Vessel in the Eastern Med. AIS data via @MarineTraffic updated ~5 hours ago had her off the coast of Baniyas, #Syria. Photos circulating appear to confirm the vessel? it looks like a cargo fire.”