Iranian media speculated that the attack was executed via mines placed on the ship’s hull.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
On the heels of escalating covert clashes between Israel and Iran, an American government official revealed that Israel has taken responsibility for an attack on an Iranian ship in the Red Sea region this Wednesday.
The official told the New York Times that Israel notified the United States that it had struck an Iranian military vessel early Wednesday morning. The justification given for the attack was retaliation for previous Iranian strikes on Israeli vessels.
The Iranian ship, the Saviz, is technically registered as a cargo ship, but its true purpose as a military vessel providing support to Iranian naval commandos under the control of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is an open secret.
According to the American official, the Saviz was damaged below the water line. Iranian media speculated that the attack was executed via mines placed on the ship’s hull.
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed to international media in a statement that the ship had been damaged.
“The Saviz civilian ship was stationed in the Red Sea region and the Gulf of Aden to establish maritime security along the shipping lanes and to counter piracy,” read the statement.
“This ship practically acted as a logistics station (technical support and logistics) of Iran in the Red Sea, and therefore the specifications and mission of this ship had previously been officially announced.”
The attack on the Saviz comes after a number of Iranian attacks on Israeli vessels. In late March, an Iranian missile struck an Israeli ship sailing between India and Oman, damaging the vessel. Another Israeli ship was damaged by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman, which is widely believed to have been backed by Iran.
A report from the United States Naval Institute (USNI) released last year revealed that the Saviz had been stationed off the coast of Yemen with minimal movement for more than three years, supporting the belief that the ship served as a military support base.
The USNI report suggested that the Saviz may have been used to provide intelligence to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and Iranian actors in Yemen, helping them execute a number of recent strikes on ships in the area.