Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Seizes Ship, Transfers Vessel to Iranian Waters

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Seizes Ship, Transfers Vessel to Iranian Waters

Iran stoked Middle East tensions Saturday by seizing a cargo ship in the Strait of Hormuz.

Commandos who boarded the ship from a helicopter took control of the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries, according to Reuters. Iran claimed the ship was linked to Israel.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency said the ship was diverted to Iranian waters after an Iranian Revolutionary Guard helicopter boarded the vessel.

MSC leases the Aries from Gortal Shipping, which is an affiliate of Zodiac Maritime, which is in part owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer.

British marine safety firm Ambrey said Zodiac Maritime “has encountered Iranian hostile acts in the past due to its Israeli ownership,” adding: “Israeli-owned shipping is advised to reconsider transiting the Strait of Hormuz. All merchant shipping is advised to remain cautious and report any unusual activity,” according to The Washington Post.

Iran has been saying it will strike back at Israel for an April 1 attack in Syria that killed seven Revolutionary Guard officers.

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MSC said it was working “with the relevant authorities” to free it and the 25 crew aboard from Iran, according to Reuters.

“Iran will bear consequences for choosing to escalate this situation any further,” Israeli military spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said.

“Israel is on high alert. We have increased our readiness to protect Israel from further Iranian aggression. We are also prepared to respond,” he also said, according to NBC.

Israel Katz, Israel’s minister of foreign affairs minister, said Iran was “a criminal regime that supports Hamas’ crimes and is now conducting a pirate operation in violation of international law,” according to The New York Times.

On Tuesday, Alireza Tangsiri, the naval head of the Revolutionary Guards, said Iran could close the Strait of Hormuz, if it wishes.

The Times reported that Iran has seized shipping in the past.

In January, a tanker laden with oil was seized near Oman. The same helicopter tactics were used.

The United States has said Iran has interfered with more than a dozen ships in recent years.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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