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Iran Confirms Freighter Damaged by 'Explosion' in Red Sea

Iran Confirms Freighter Damaged by 'Explosion' in Red Sea

Wednesday, 7 April, 2021 - 10:00
This Oct. 1, 2020, satellite photo from Planet Labs Inc. shows the Iranian cargo ship MV Saviz in the Red Sea. (Planet Labs Inc. via AP)

An Iranian freighter suffered minor damage in an "explosion" in the Red Sea, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, after US media reported the vessel had been hit by Israel.

The blast struck the "Iranian commercial vessel" MV Saviz off the coast of Djibouti at around 6 am local time Tuesday, ministry spokesman Said Khatibzadeh said, adding that an inquiry had been opened into the cause.

Overnight Iran's Tasnim news agency reported that the vessel, which was used by the Iranian armed forces, had been damaged by "limpet mines.”

It is the latest in a series of reported attacks on Israeli- or Iranian-owned cargo ships since late February, for which the two sides have each accused the other of being responsible.

The New York Times cited a US official as saying Israel had informed Washington it had struck the Saviz in "retaliation for earlier Iranian strikes on Israeli vessels.”

The Washington Institute for Near-East Policy has called the Saviz an “Iranian mothership” in the region, describing it as an intelligence-gathering base and an armory for the Revolutionary Guard.

The Saviz came to the Red Sea in late 2016, according to ship-tracking data. In the years since, it has drifted off the Dahlak archipelago in the Red Sea. It likely received supply replenishments and switched crew via passing Iranian vessels using the waterway.

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