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Paper: UK forces arrive in Yemen to 'hunt' alleged attackers on Israeli tanker

A tug boat is moored next to Israeli-linked tanker MT Mercer Street, off the Fujayrah port in the United Arab Emirates, on August 3, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

British special forces have arrived in Yemen to hunt down those whom the UK alleges are behind a recent drone attack on an Israeli-linked tanker in which a British security guard died, the Daily Express reports.  

A Special Air Service (SAS) team of 40 soldiers arrived at al-Ghaydah airport in the eastern province of Mahra on Saturday after General Sir Nick Carter, head of Britain’s Armed Forces, urged Western powers to retaliate against the drone attack that killed Adrian Underwood, a private maritime security guard from Britain, and the Romanian captain of the Israeli-managed tanker.

The Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned ship, came under attack about 152 nautical miles (280 km) northeast of the Omani port of Duqm on July 29 while it was heading from Tanzania to the United Arab Emirates.

The US, Britain and Israel claim the drone was launched from eastern Yemen at the behest of Tehran.

They rushed to accuse Iran of having a role in the incident, without providing any evidence. Romania has also alleged that the attack was deliberate and coordinated by Tehran.

Russia, however, has strongly rejected the existence of any indications pointing to Iran’s involvement in the attack.

Iran itself has vehemently dismissed the accusations, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh sounding a strong warning against any act of adventurism against the Islamic Republic’s interests based on unfounded claims.

According to the Daily Express, the SAS team is operating with a US special operations force, which is already in the region and helping to train an elite Saudi commando unit.

The SAS team is said to be using local handlers, ­subsidized by the British Foreign Office, who have knowledge of the region to help “hunt” Ansarullah fighters whom they blame for the attack, the report said.

In recent months, several other Israeli ships have come under apparent attacks on various maritime routes across the world.

Earlier in July, 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 TV said the vessel had been en route to the coast of the 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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