Iran Guards Seize MSC Aries Vessel 'Linked to Israel'

An American shipping vessel. Reuters file photo
An American shipping vessel. Reuters file photo
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Iran Guards Seize MSC Aries Vessel 'Linked to Israel'

An American shipping vessel. Reuters file photo
An American shipping vessel. Reuters file photo

Iran's state news agency IRNA said on Saturday that its Revolutionary Guards had seized the MSC Aries vessel it said was "linked to Israel" and it was being transferred to Iran's territorial waters.

A Guards navy special forces helicopter boarded the Portuguese flagged vessel and seized it, IRNA added.

UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said the vessel had been seized 50 nautical miles (92 km) northeast of the Fujairah, an area close to the Strait of Hormuz that forms the entrance to the Gulf.

A British maritime security company, Ambrey, reported a "boarding" incident at the same location but without giving further details.

Marine tracking sites said the vessel was the MSC Aries of Zodiac Maritime, an international shipping company partly owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer.

Iran has threatened to retaliate for suspected Israeli airstrikes on its consulate in Syria's capital Damascus on April 1 that killed seven Revolutionary Guards officers including two senior commanders.

US President Joe Biden said on Friday he expected Iran to attack Israel "sooner, rather than later" and warned Tehran not to proceed.



Fire at Hospital in Iran’s North Kills 9 Patients

The Iranian flag. (AFP)
The Iranian flag. (AFP)
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Fire at Hospital in Iran’s North Kills 9 Patients

The Iranian flag. (AFP)
The Iranian flag. (AFP)

A fire broke out at a hospital in Iran's north, killing nine patients, state media reported Tuesday.

The blaze started at 1:30 local time (2200GMT) at Qaem Hospital in the city of Rasht, some 330 kilometers (about 205 miles) northwest of the capital Tehran, state TV said, leaving six women and three men dead.

Chief of the city fire department, Shahram Momeni, said on state TV that an electric short circuit in the basement — which harbors the intensive care unit — malfunctioned, causing the fire.

Momeni said emergency workers rescued more than 140 people, patients and hospital staff, after being trapped because of the smoke, and that 120 of them were hospitalized in other medical facilities. He added that an investigation has been ordered.

A video posted online appeared to show smoke billowing from the hospital in the middle of the night.

Iranian media occasionally report on fires in hospitals and clinics that are mainly blamed on technical issues.

In 2020, an explosion from a gas leak in a medical clinic in northern Tehran killed 19 people.