Deadly attack on Israel-linked tanker is major escalation - analysis


Staff member
Deadly attack on Israel-linked tanker is major escalation - analysis
The recent attack on the oil tanker off the coast of Oman included the use of sophisticated drones and led to the death of two crewmen, which is a significant escalation in the covert naval conflict.
JULY 31, 2021

The attack on the Mercer Street tanker off the coast of Oman is a major escalation in an ongoing series of attacks on shipping that have increased this year. The ship is reportedly operated by Zodiac Maritime and reports say a UK and Romanian crewmember were killed. The attack may have been carried out by a drone. Pro-Iran forces have used drones to attack US forces in Iraq, and Iran has trafficked drones and drone technology to the Houthis in Yemen, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iraqi militias. Iran has also used drones to try to attack Israel in February 2018 and May 2021 from Syria.

The incident in the Gulf of Oman or Arabian Sea, which is the same area, was apparently carried out by a kind of kamikaze drone. Iran has used these types of drones, sometimes called Ababil or Qasef when they are assembled by the Houthis in Yemen. Devices found in drones used by pro-Iran groups to attack Saudi Arabia and other countries in Yemen and other places have been linked to Iran in the past. For instance, these include gyroscopes on Shahed 123 drones. In May and June 2019 Iran also allegedly used mines to strike at six ships in the Gulf of Oman, badly damaging one. In prior incidents no one has been killed.