Iran blames Israel, U.S. blames Iran for Saudi ship sabotage

The incident began early Sunday morning and now may become a major crises, increasing the already fraught tensions between the US and Iran.

A damaged ANDREA VICTORY ship is seen off the Port of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, May 13, 2019.  (photo credit: SATISH KUMAR/REUTERS)
A damaged ANDREA VICTORY ship is seen off the Port of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, May 13, 2019.
(photo credit: SATISH KUMAR/REUTERS)
The tanker attacks off the coast of the United Arab Emirates were the result of "Israeli mischief," an Iranian parliamentary spokesman said on Tuesday, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
"The events that took place in the Emirates were Israeli mischief," Behrouz Nemati said, without providing any details on what role Israel may have played in the attacks.
An anonymous US official said on Monday that an initial assessment showed that “Iran or Iranian-backed proxies” had blown holes in four ships in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
The four ships were the subject of “sabotage,” Saudi Arabia said on Monday. A Norwegian ship confirmed that it had a hole in its hull, but images did not appear to show the result of an explosion, leaving questions about what precisely happened.
The incident began early Sunday morning and now may become a major crisis, increasing the already fraught tensions between the US and Iran. The US has warned Iran of repercussions if it or its allies attack the US.
The AP reported on Monday night that “an American military team’s initial assessment is that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives Sunday to blow large holes in four ships.” The holes were around five to ten feet wide, similar to the one in the Norwegian Andrea Victory. Norway’s Aftenposten reported on Tuesday that none of the crew of the ship were injured and the hole was in the rear of the ship in a ballast tank.
The attack took place near the entrance to the Straits of Hormuz, a major shipping lane which Iran has threatened to close in the past.
“That the goal of the action has been to paralyze the Emirates economy is not at all unthinkable and very possible,” Thina Seltvedt, an oil analyst at Nordea Markets, told Aftenposten.

RT published a video of the Tuesday incident showing no major damage to the four ships that had been sabotaged and images showed damage to the Norwegian flagged ship.
Al-Jarida in Kuwait says the incident could destabilize the region.
Meanwhile, the movement of ships continues normally, the UAE says, regarding Fujairah port. The sabotage took place several kilometers at sea off the port where dozens of ships are anchored.
Al-Arabiya in Saudi Arabia carried the anonymous US report.
Reuters contributed to this story.
 


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