The Pentagon believes that the Islamic Republic of Iran attacked a civilian trading vessel off the coast of India last week. The news comes as Iran-backed groups across the Middle East have attacked a number of civilian and military targets.
Washington accused Iran of launching a drone from its territory toward a trading vessel. The drone struck a Liberian chemical tanker, but the fire was put out.
The vessel was traveling between Saudi Arabia and India.
The Pentagon said that the Chem Pluto was struck around 10 a.m. local team, about 200 miles off the coast of India. The Pentagon described the projectile as a “one-way attack drone fired from Iran.”
There were no reported injuries.
The most recent attack represents a string of attacks against civilian shipping over the last two and a half months.
The Friday attack was significantly different than others in the last several weeks. Since shortly after the war between Israel and Hamas began in October, Houthi rebels in Yemen have attacked a number of civilian and military vessels.
The rebel group, which controls much of Yemen’s western portion, said that it would attack vessels coming to and from Israel.
The attacks on civilian shipping severely impacted trade coming in and out of the Red Sea. Without being able to use this crucial waterway, most ships cannot transit the Suez Canal in Egypt.
Some shipping companies have already rerouted their vessels to avoid the Red Sea entirely.
Houthi rebels struck a number of civilian ships with drones or missiles. In one case, the rebels hijacked an Israel-linked ship and its crew. There have also been several drone and missile attacks against U.S. and British Royal Navy vessels in the region.
The United States has responded by creating an international coalition to guard the vessels transiting the Red Sea. However, the attacks appear to be growing.
Iran is a chief backer of the rebel group, as well as a number of Islamist militias across the region that have attacked U.S. troops.
According to U.S. Central Command, the USS Laboon (DDG-58) an Arleigh Burke-Class Guided-Missile Destroyer with Operation Prosperity Guardian in the Red Sea conducted a Shoot Down of 4 One-Way Attack Drones launched by the Houthi Terrorist Group in Yemen towards International… pic.twitter.com/K6B2dAmO08
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) December 24, 2023