An Iranian tanker was attacked off the Syrian coast Saturday, sparking a fire and killing three people, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.
The state news agency SANA quoted the oil ministry as saying that the fire erupted after “what was believed to be an attack by a drone from the direction of Lebanese waters.”
The identity of the vessel was unclear with Iran’s semi-official news agency Tasnim denying it was an Iranian ship. TankerTrackers said in a tweet “the tanker seen burning today off the coast of Banias is not an Iranian vessel,” but Beirut-registered.
A source from the Arab community in Israel told North Press, “the fire broke out after the tanker was exposed to what is believed to be an attack by a drone coming from the direction of the Lebanese territorial waters,” the source added.
The source, who preferred not to be named, pointed out that from a physical and logistical point of view, the drone cannot target the hull of the ship, but rather “something on the deck of the ship.”
Speaking to North Press, the source estimated that what was targeted was a “new type of equipment or missiles” which was put on the deck of the Iranian tanker.
Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Alam TV said there was some damage to an Iranian tanker but no casualties. But Iran’s Tasnim news agency, quoting “certain sources,” said that “the accident happened to another vessel … and is not linked to a ship carrying Iranian cargo.”
The Iranians used the oil tanker to smuggle “uncommon weapons,” so that no one would think that it was carrying something other than oil, according to the source.
The source stressed that “the naval battle between Iran and Israel has advanced in full swing for years.”
The source revealed to North Press that 15 Israeli attacks against Iranian targets in the Mediterranean have occurred during the last three years. This figure does not include attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf waters.
The naval war between Iran and Israel has been taking place for years in secret.
However, by detecting it at this time, Israel intends to show the world that it struggles with the “Iranian octopus,” and that there are “those who want to satisfy the crocodile in order to eat it,” in reference to the US, which is seeking to return to the Iranian nuclear deal.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.