Senior IDF officer: Iran tried to drone strike two vessels in Arabian Sea last month
Speaking at INSS conference, Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk says ‘Iran poses a danger to the security and stability of the entire region’
Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.
The head of the military’s Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk, revealed Wednesday that Iran had twice attempted to attack Israeli-linked vessels in the Arabian Sea in the past month.
His remarks came after Israel accused Iran of attacking an Israeli-linked tanker in early February, a strike that the ship’s operator said caused “minor” damage.
“Iran is not just Israel’s problem. And I’m not just talking about the nuclear threat. For example, the distribution of UAVs and the violation of international freedom of navigation in the region,” Basiuk said at a conference hosted by the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
“In the last month, Iran tried twice to attack vessels in the Arabian Sea and failed, and it did so using drones, which we also see being used in the Ukraine-Russia war,” he said. “Iran poses a danger to the security and stability of the entire region.”
He didn’t provide further details on when exactly the incidents occurred or what had transpired that led to the failure.
On February 10, Campo Square, a Liberian-flagged product tanker, was “hit by an airborne object while in the Arabian Sea, approximately 300 nautical miles (555 kilometers) off the coasts of India and Oman,” according to Eletson, the Greek company that manages the vessel.
“Both the vessel and crew are safe and proceeding as per planned passage. There is minor damage to the vessel,” Eletson said in a statement a week after the strike, following a BBC report.
Campo Square belongs to Zodiac Maritime Company, owned by Israeli shipping magnate Eyal Ofer.
Citing a US military official and a regional military source, BBC Persian said the attack on the Campo Square involved several Iranian ships and likely the Shahed 136 drone, which Russia has been using in its invasion of Ukraine.
Iran’s government did not acknowledge the attack.
Tehran and Israel have been engaged in a years-long shadow war in the wider Middle East, with several drone attacks targeting Israeli-associated vessels traveling around the region.
In one such attack in July 2021, Mercer Street, an oil tanker owned by an Israeli businessman, was struck by a Shahed drone, killing a British and a Romanian crew member.
In November, Israel and the United States blamed Iran for a drone strike on a tanker off the coast of Oman. The vessel was operated by a company owned by Idan Ofer, Eyal Ofer’s brother.
“Iran is a continuous challenge,” Basiuk said at the Wednesday conference. “It is challenging us and we are challenging it.”