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Iran Reports 'Terrorist Attack' On Cargo Ship In Mediterranean Sea

The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines group was blacklisted by the United States last year. (file photo)

An Iranian state-owned company says one of its cargo vessels was targeted this week by what it called a "terrorist" attack in the Mediterranean Sea, state television reported on March 12.

The report quoted Ali Ghiasian, spokesman for the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines group (IRISL), as saying that the ship was en route from Iran to Europe when its hull was hit with an "explosive device" on March 10.

Ghiasian said the blast set off a small fire that was quickly extinguished and that the ship, named Shahr-e Kord, would continue on its journey after assessing and repairing the damage.

The report said there were no casualties in the blast. It did not blame anyone for the incident, which Ghiasian called a "terrorist action and an example of maritime piracy.”

Reuters quoted two maritime security sources as saying that initial indications were that the container ship had been intentionally targeted by an unknown source.

The incident comes less than two weeks after Israel accused arch enemy Iran of being behind an attack on an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman on February 25 -- a charge denied by Tehran.

In a March 12 report quoting U.S. and regional officials, The Wall Street Journal said Israel had targeted at least a dozen vessels bound for Syria that were mostly carrying Iranian oil since late 2019.

It said Israel had used weapons including "water mines" to target the ships.

Israeli officials have not commented on the report, but Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the country “will continue to fight against terrorism and everything that helps terrorism, including its sources of revenue.”

IRISL was blacklisted by the United States last year over what the State Department described as the transportation of items related to Iran's missile and nuclear programs.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters
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