Netanyahu blames Iran for ship attack, Tehran denies charge

Netanyahu blames Iran for ship attack, Tehran denies charge

An explosion has struck an Israeli-owned cargo ship sailing out of the Middle East, in an unexplained blast that renews concerns over ship security in the region amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran.

On Sunday night, Syrian state media reported several airstrikes took place near Damascus, with air defense systems intercepting most of the missiles.

"This is an initial assessment that takes into account the proximity (with Iran) and the context" in which the blast occurred, he added.

Iran also has blamed Israel for a recent series of attacks, including a mysterious explosion last summer that destroyed an advanced centrifuge assembly plant at its Natanz nuclear facility and the assasination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top Iranian scientist who founded the Islamic Republic's military nuclear program two decades ago. The blast did not disable the ship or injure its crew, but forced it ashore for repairs.

There were conflicting reports on whether Iran would have known the ship was Israeli-owned.

There was no immediate comment from Iranian officials.

Dryad suggested Iran could be behind the blast, noting the incident comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and the Islamic republic.

Following the election of US President Joe Biden, Washington, the European parties to the deal - France, Germany and Britain - and Tehran have been trying to salvage the troubled 2015 nuclear accord, which granted Iran worldwide sanctions relief in return for restrictions on its nuclear programme.

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The ship is owned by a Tel Aviv company, Ray Shipping, through a company registered in the Isle of Man, according to a United Nations shipping database.

"Israeli authorities will investigate this together with me", he told the Ynet news site. "That has not happened to me before".

Ungar said it was most likely linked to previous attacks on shipping in the area.

The Pentagon said the strikes were retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member and other coalition troops. "There will be a check when the ship reaches port". A U.S. defence official in Washington said the blast left holes above the waterline in both sides of the hull. The officials said it remained unclear what caused the holes.

The blue-and-white vessel on Sunday arrived at Dubai's Port Rashid, where a spokesperson for DP World said an assessment can be made. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss unreleased information on the incidents.

According to the Nikola Y. Vaptsarov Naval Academy, where Ungar provides support and maritime training, he owns dozens of car-carrying ships and employs thousands of engineers.

These latest attacks come as the administration of US President Joe Biden attempts to reverse policies set out by his predecessor, Donald Trump, that led to the US withdrawing from a nuclear deal between Iran and other major powers.

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