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Israeli ship attacked by suspected Iranian missile

A cargo ship. (North Charleston, Wikimedia Commons/Released)
April 14, 2021

A Bahamian-flagged and Israeli-owned cargo ship was damaged while sailing near the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, a day after Iran vowed revenge against Israel for causing a power outage at an Iranian nuclear facility.

Multiple Israeli news outlets reported on the incident, identifying the cargo ship Hyperion Ray as the ship targeted during the Tuesday morning incident. The Jerusalem Post reported the incident was the result of an Iranian missile or drone attack.

Israeli businessman Rami Unger told Israel’s Channel 12 News the Hyperion Ray was hit by a missile. Following the incident, the ship pulled reportedly pulled into the nearby UAE port of Fujairah, where the ship’s operators assessed it sustained little to no damage.

The Iranian state-owned Al-Alam TV also reported on the incident, referring to the Hyperion Ray as the targeted ship.

The incident came a day after Iran blamed Israel for a power outage at its Natanz nuclear facility and vowed revenge. On Monday, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said “The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions … We will not fall into their trap. We will not allow this act of sabotage to affect the nuclear talks. But we will take our revenge against the Zionists.”

The Hyperion Ray’s sister ship Helios Ray suffered damage from an explosion in late February. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran for the attack, saying, “This was indeed an operation by Iran. That is clear.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh “strongly rejected” the claim that Iran was behind the attack on the Helios Ray and said Netanyahu was “suffering from an obsession with Iran.”

Iran and Israel have been suspected of engaging in back and forth sabotage attacks on one another’s ships for months. Following the incident with the Helios Ray, Netanyahu said “Iran is Israel’s greatest enemy, I’m determined to block it” and added, “we’re striking at it throughout the region.”

Just two weeks after the incident with the Helios Ray, an Iranian cargo ship Shahr E Kord was also damaged by an explosion. Ali Ghiasian, a spokesman for the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line Group (IRISL Group), the Iranian company that operated the cargo ship, described the incident as a terrorist attack but did not directly blame Israel.

An Israeli security official told the New York Times that Israel is now seeking to reduce the tensions in the Persian Gulf and that it would not retaliate with an attack on an Iranian vessel.

A representative for the Hyperion Ray’s operators told the Jerusalem Post, “Hyperion Ray incurred no damages and is continuing at full speed on its original voyage.”