Iran Guards seize vessel 'related' to Israel in Gulf: state media

Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Saturday seized a container ship "related to the Zionist regime (Israel) in the Gulf," state media reported, as tensions soar in the region.

"A container ship named 'MCS Aries' was seized by the Sepah (Guards) Navy Special Forces by carrying out a heliborne operation," IRNA state news agency reported.

It added that the operation took place "near the Strait of Hormuz", a waterway vital to world trade, and "this ship has now been directed towards the territorial waters" of Iran.

The Iranian report came after two maritime security agencies said "regional authorities" had seized a vessel off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

"Vessel reported to have been seized by regional authorities" off the coast of Fujairah, the Royal Navy's United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations agency said, without providing further details.

Security firm Ambrey said it "observed still footage of at least three individuals fast-roping from a helicopter onto what appeared to be a container ship".

Iran's Revolutionary Guards "have previously used this method of boarding while seizing vessels in the Strait of Hormuz", Ambrey added.

 Portuguese flag 

Vessel tracking websites, and, say MSC Aries is a Portuguese-flagged container ship. Both sites give its last reported position as in the Gulf.

The United States on Friday said it was sending military reinforcements to the region, after Iran vowed retaliation for a deadly strike on the consular section of its Damascus embassy in Syria almost two weeks ago.

United States President Joe Biden on Friday said he expected Iran to strike arch-foe Israel, which Tehran blamed for the consular attack, ...

Continue reading on: