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IRGC seizes Israellinked ship near Strait of Hormuz

· 4 min read

IRGC seizes Israel-linked ship near Strait of Hormuz

TEHRAN – The Special Naval Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) executed a significant operation on Saturday, seizing the Israel-linked MSC Aries container ship near the Strait of Hormuz, according to the official news agency IRNA.

IRGC seizes Israel-linked ship near Strait of Hormuz

The interception involved a meticulously planned heliborne operation by the Sepah Navy Special Force (SNSF), with commandos descending onto the ship's deck from helicopters. The vessel has since been redirected towards Iranian territorial waters.

Operated under the management of Zodiac Maritime, one of the world's largest shipping companies, the MSC Aries is a container ship flying the Portuguese flag. It's noteworthy that the vessel is owned by Eyal Ofer, an Israeli tycoon known for his involvement in real estate, energy, technology, and shipping sectors. Zodiac Maritime, a subsidiary of Ofer's Zodiac Group, oversees the operations of the vessel. 

Born in Haifa in 1950, Ofer ranks among the wealthiest individuals in Israel, boasting a fortune nearing $10 billion. He is also featured on Forbes' list of the wealthiest people worldwide.

It was confirmed there were 25 crew members on board the ship, according to the ship’s operators.

A government official from Portugal informed CNN that they have initiated contact with Iranian authorities after the incident.

The IRGC released video footage capturing the operation, depicting commandos descending onto stacks of containers on the ship's deck. In the video, crew members can be heard instructing others to remain inside, indicating the tension and control exerted during the operation.

The MSC Aries had been last tracked moving from Dubai towards the Strait of Hormuz before the interception. Notably, the ship had deactivated its tracking system, a measure commonly observed among vessels associated with Israel when traversing the region.

Following Iran's seizure of MSC Aries, the Foreign Minister of Israel urged the European Union to designate the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) as "terrorist" in their sanction list.

In a post on his social media X account, Israel Katz accused Iran of "pirate operation in violation of international law," without mentioning the terrorist operation of Tel Aviv targeting Iran’s consulate in Damascus.

Previously, the Israeli regime's army reacted to Iran's seizure of another vessel associated with the regime in the Persian Gulf.

In a statement, the Israeli regime's army asserted that Iran would "bear the consequences of escalating tensions." Israel issued these threats despite its own warmongering in the region, which has led to heightened tension, disrupted peace and stability, and resulted in ruthless aggression against the people of Gaza.

The ongoing aggression in Gaza initiated by Israel has resulted in the death of at least 33,634 Palestinians, predominantly women and children, with 76,214 others injured, according to the latest statistics from the Gaza health ministry.

The Israeli regime's army, in this statement, also failed to acknowledge its inability to confront the Resistance fighters of Palestine, despite engaging in over six months of aggressive warfare and maintaining a weak stance against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Nevertheless, they stated, "We are in a high state of alertness and have increased our readiness to protect Israel against Iranian aggression."

Additionally, the Israeli regime's army declared, "We are prepared for all scenarios and will take necessary actions with our allies to protect Israelis."

This development unfolds against the backdrop of heightened tensions between Israel and Iran. 

Israel launched a terrorist attack on the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital on April 1, using six missiles that resulted in the deaths of seven individuals, including high-ranking Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi and his deputy General Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi.

In response, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, vowed that Iran would retaliate against Israel and ensure that the malevolent regime regrets its actions of assassinating Iranian military advisors in Syria.

According to the Iranian Fars news outlet, the seizure of the Israeli-linked ship has nothing to do with Iran’s response to the embassy attack.