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Israeli ship targeted in attack off Oman coast, says UK military

A cargo ship (L) is seen off the coast of the northern Israeli city of Haifa on June 9, 2019. (Photo by AP)

The British military says an Israeli-owned merchant ship has been targeted in an attack off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea.

The United Kingdom’s defense ministry said the vessel came under attack late on Thursday near the island of Masirah, about 280 kilometers northeast of the Omani port of Duqm and more than 300 kilometers southeast of Oman's capital, Muscat.

Providing no further details, the UK Maritime Trade Operations said the attack was not an act of piracy and added that an investigation was underway into the incident.

Israeli media said the vessel was operated by Zodiac Maritime, a London-based company belonging to Israeli business tycoon Eyal Ofer.

The company, confirming the incident in a statement on Twitter, identified the vessel as the Liberia-flagged MERCER STREET tanker. 

Without further elaboration, the Zodiac Maritime described the attack as “piracy”.

“At the time of the incident the vessel was in the northern Indian Ocean, traveling from [Tanzania's Port city of] Dar es Salaam to [the Emirati port of ] Fujairah with no cargo onboard,” it said. 

Satellite tracking data from showed the vessel had been near where British officials said the attack occurred.

Israeli and Omani officials have yet to comment on the incident.  

In recent months, several other Israeli ships have been targeted in various maritime routs across the world. 

Earlier in the month, a fire broke out on an Israeli-owned cargo ship after it was struck by an “unidentified weapon” in the northern Indian Ocean. 

Lebanon's al-Mayadeen television network said the Israeli vessel was on route to the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when it was attacked. 

Back in February, an Israeli-owned ship was hit by an explosion in the sea of Oman. In April, another Israeli ship came under attack off the coast of the UAE.  

The attacks come against a backdrop of the Israeli regime’s various assaults on cargo ships across the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere.

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