Dubai, United Arab Emirates — A tanker associated with an Israeli billionaire was struck by a bomb-carrying drone off the coast of Oman amid heightened tensions with Iran, an official told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The attack happened Tuesday evening off the coast of Oman, the Middle East-based defense official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the attack publicly.
UK Maritime Commercial Operations, a British military organization in the region monitoring shipping, told the AP: “We are aware of an incident and it is under investigation at the moment. “
The official identified the attacked vessel as the Liberian-flagged tanker Pacific Zircon. The tanker is operated by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, which is a company ultimately owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.
A phone number for the Eastern Pacific rang unanswered on Wednesday.
While no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, suspicion immediately fell on Iran. Tehran and Israel have been engaged in a shadow war in the wider Middle East for years, with drone attacks targeting Israeli-associated ships traveling in the region.
The United States has also blamed Iran for a series of attacks off the United Arab Emirates in 2019. Tehran then began to step up its nuclear program after the United States unilaterally withdrew from its atomic agreement with the United States. world powers.
Iranian state media did not immediately acknowledge the attack on the Pacific Zircon.