UAE says commercial ships targeted by ‘sabotage,’ amid rising Gulf tensions

The United Arab Emirates has mentioned that 4 commercial ships had been hit by “sabotage” in its waters, hours after denying studies of explosions at an oil tanker terminal. The incident comes as US/Iran pressure ratchets up.

The 4 vessels had been targeted by “sabotage operations” in waters close to the emirate of Fujairah, the nation’s international ministry mentioned on Sunday. The precise nature of the sabotage was not revealed, nor had been the nationalities of the ships. There had been no reported casualties.

“Subjecting commercial vessels to sabotage operations and threatening the lives of their crew is taken into account a harmful growth,” the international ministry mentioned in an announcement, including that it’s investigating the alleged incident.

The assertion got here hours after Fujairah’s authorities denied studies that an explosion had rocked an oil terminal on the emirate’s port. Lebanese broadcaster Mayadeen first reported the explosion, earlier than the story was picked up by Iran’s Press TV. Officials in Fujairah known as on the media to “investigate accurately and rely on official sources.”

Although the precise occasions are unknown, Iranian lawmaker Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh tweeted that “the explosions of Fujairah showed that the security of the south of the Persian Gulf is like glass.”

Should the safety state of affairs within the area deteriorate, a lot is at stake. Fujairah backs on to the Gulf of Oman on the south aspect of the Strait of Hormuz. With the UAE and Saudi Arabia on one aspect and Iran on the different, one-third of the world’s oil at sea transits the strait, which is solely 39 kilometers huge.

The UAE didn’t instantly blame Iran for the alleged sabotage, however its declare comes simply days after the United States Maritime Administration warned that “Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against US and partner interests, including oil production infrastructure” within the area. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are steadfast American allies.

Egypt, one other American ally within the Middle East, sided with the UAE’s tackle occasions, condemning the alleged act of sabotage afterward Sunday night time.

Iran has insisted that it has no real interest in escalating tensions within the area, but the US has pressed forward with the deployment of a provider strike group and an Air Force bomber group to the area, to guard US pursuits from the unspecified risk. The USS Abraham Lincoln handed by means of Egypt’s Suez Canal on Thursday, in what National Security Advisor John Bolton known as a “clear and unmistakable message” to Tehran.

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