Israel has informed the United States that it attacked the Iranian warship Saviz in the Red Sea.
The ship was struck on the first day of negotiations, with the Iranians on the renewal of the nuclear deal, during which “some progress was noted.”
Several Iranian media outlets published pictures of the ship billowing smoke and showing flames. The ship has been hit by a mine. The extent of the damage and possible casualties are unclear at this time.
The Saviz is officially registered as a cargo ship but is known to be used as a reconnaissance ship. It was the first warship attacked during the Israel-Iran clashes at sea.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps reported on social media that the ship was sent to the Red Sea “to fight pirates.” The Tasnim Agency reports that it was damaged by a mine attached to the hull.
Iran has not officially issued any statement regarding the attack against the Saviz, but several Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Telegram channels blamed Israel for the explosion.
Israel also has not commented in any way on the Red Sea incident. But The New York Times claims, citing an “official,” that “the Israelis notified the United States that their forces struck the ship at 7:30 p.m.”
The newspaper’s source, who wished to remain anonymous, said the Israelis called the attack retaliation for earlier Iranian attacks on Israeli merchant ships. He also reported that the Saviz was damaged below the waterline.
The source also claimed the Israelis “postponed” their action for some time in order to allow the U.S. aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower to withdraw from the attack zone.