An Iranian drone struck a chemical tanker within the Indian Ocean on Saturday, in accordance with the Pentagon, marking the most recent escalation of tensions and dangers to transport routes within the wake of Israel’s struggle with militant group Hamas.
“The motor vessel CHEM PLUTO, a Liberia-flagged, Japanese-owned, and Netherlands-operated chemical tanker was struck at roughly 10 a.m. native time (6 a.m. GMT) at the moment within the Indian Ocean, 200 nautical miles from the coast of India, by a one-way assault drone fired from Iran,” a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed to The Hill.
The Pentagon stated this was the “seventh Iranian assault on business transport since 2021.”
No casualties have been reported. A fireplace broke out aboard the tanker and has since been extinguished, the spokesperson stated.
No U.S. Navy vessels have been within the neighborhood, whereas U.S. Naval Forces Central Command stay in communication with the U.S. vessel on its manner in the direction of India.
The assault follows Iran’s risk earlier Saturday that the Mediterranean Sea could possibly be “closed” if the U.S. and Israel proceed “crimes” in Gaza. Iran, which has lengthy supported Hamas, accused the Israeli army and the U.S. — an in depth Israeli ally — of committing struggle crimes in Gaza.
Over 20,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza since early October within the wake of Israel’s retaliatory marketing campaign towards Hamas, in accordance with the Gaza Well being Ministry.
The U.S. has expressed steadfast assist of Israel’s proper to defend itself towards Hamas’s Oct. 7 assault that left an estimated 1,200 folks useless in Israel. This assist, nevertheless, has prompted an uptick in assaults towards U.S. and coalition forces within the Center East by what’s believed to be Iranian-backed militants.
U.S. officers beforehand advised The Hill they imagine Iran is seeking to drive a withdrawal of the U.S. army from the area.
The risk marks the most recent threat to transport lanes, following the escalated tensions within the Crimson Sea, the place Yemen Houthi rebels attacked a number of vessels. Houthi rebels claimed the assaults, a number of of which have been towards Israeli-backed vessels, are in hopes of curbing Israeli airstrikes and floor assaults in Gaza.
A collection of transport corporations suspended operations within the Crimson Sea earlier this month within the wake of such assaults, impacting their transport routes and world oil costs.
Whereas the U.S. reiterates its assist of Israel, the Biden administration in latest weeks has upped calls on Israel to actively attempt to defend civilian lives and because the nation makes an attempt to remove the specter of Hamas, which has dominated Gaza since 2007.
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