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Iran attacks Israeli-linked ship near Strait of Hormuz, US rushes warships to aid ally: Report

The video was shared with the AP by the defence official, who discussed intelligence matters while speaking on condition of anonymity. Within, the commandos descended onto a pile of containers arranged on the ship's deck.

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Iran attacks Israeli-linked ship near Strait of Hormuz, US rushes warships to aid ally: Report
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In the midst of heightened tensions between Tehran and the West, an attack near the Strait of Hormuz by commandos using a helicopter was captured on camera by The Associated Press on Saturday. A Middle East defence official blamed Iran for the attack. 

The attack was captured on camera and first reported by the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations of the British military. The Emirati government provided no information about the boarding in the Gulf of Oman off the port city of Fujairah.

The video was shared with the AP by the defence official, who discussed intelligence matters while speaking on condition of anonymity. Within, the commandos descended onto a pile of containers arranged on the ship's deck.

"Don't come out," a ship crew member was heard saying. Then, as more commandos descend onto the deck, the crew mate orders his comrades to head to the ship's bridge. Above the others, one commando is seen kneeling to offer them possible cover fire, as reported by India Today.

The MSC Aries, a container ship owned by London-based Zodiac Maritime and flying the Portuguese flag, is most likely the vessel in question. The Zodiac Group, led by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, includes Zodiac Maritime. A request for comment was met with no immediate response from Zodiac or MSC.

When the MSC Aries was last seen on Friday, it was sailing away from Dubai and towards the Strait of Hormuz. As has been customary for ships with Israeli ties passing through the area, the ship had disabled its tracking system.

The incident occurs at a time when tensions between the West and Iran are at an all-time high, especially in light of the apparent Israeli strike on the Iranian Consulate in Syria. 

Iran did not immediately acknowledge that it had seized any vessels, and state media did not report on the incident. However, in the midst of ongoing tensions with the West over its rapidly progressing nuclear programme, Iran has engaged in a series of ship seizures and attacks on vessels since 2019.

The Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf's narrow mouth through which a fifth of the world's oil travels, is close to the Gulf of Oman. On the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates, Fujairah serves as a major port for ships arriving to pick up supplies, swap out crew, or take on fresh oil cargo. 

A number of explosions and hijackings have occurred in the waters off Fujairah since 2019. The attacks on tanker damage caused by limpet mines were attributed by the U.S. Navy to Iran.

In order to defend Israel and American forces in the area, the US has hurriedly amassed more military hardware. Two Navy destroyers have been transferred by the nation to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, an official in the Navy said. One is the USS Carney, which was engaged in air defence against Houthi drones and anti-ship missiles while it was recently in the Red Sea.

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