Pentagon Reports Iranian Drone Attack on Chemical Tanker in Indian Ocean

( – According to the U.S. Department of Defense, an Iranian drone fired on a chemical tanker in the Red Sea, near the Indian ocean, marking the 7th time a vessel was attacked by Iranian drone strike since 2021.

The Netherlands-operated, Japanese-owned vessel was attacked 200 miles off the Indian coast, by a one-way drone strike originating from Iranian forces. One-way strikes indicate that the drone does not return to its source. The vessel suffered minor damage, with no casualties, and a fire was quickly extinguished. The attack occurred while no U.S. Naval vessels were in the vicinity. After the attack, the vessel was escorted by an Indian patrol vehicle to Mumbai.

The ship began its voyage from Saudi Arabia and was traveling to Pakistan through an area that’s been the target of Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The U.S. navy has recently shot down dozens of similar drone and missile attacks in the area. The attacks show no sign of slowing as tensions rise throughout the middle east in conjunction with the Israeli-Gaza conflict.

The Houthi rebels have been fighting against Saudi Arabian influence in Yemen since the 1990s, and allied with not just Iran, but Syria, North Korea and Russia, among others. The conflict has escalated heavily since 2020. Complicating the issue, Houthis have allegedly pledged their support for the Palestinians in their war with Israel. These drone and missile attacks are another example of a dangerous flashpoint in an already fraught situation, forcing the U.S. to project ever greater levels of engagement in a deep-seated conflict.

In response to this kind of attack, the U.S. and 9 other countries have organized a naval task force to secure shipping through the Red Sea, which accounts for 10% of all shipping traffic globally.

Both the White House and the Israeli government have promised retribution for anyone attacking commercial ships in the region. Iran has denied all involvement either with the Houthi rebels, or with the drone and missile attacks.

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