A TV network linked to Iran has said that the attack on a ship off the coast of Oman was in "response to a recent Israeli attack on Al-Dabaa airport in the Al-Qusayr region in Syria." The report by the Iranian-backed network in Arabic appears to be one of the first major media reports in Iran discussing the attack on the ship.
The article says that "well-informed sources" in the region told Al-Alam that today's attack on an Israeli ship in the northern Oman Sea came in response to the Israeli attack. It says that the attack on Al-Dabaa had led to the "martyrdom" of two people who were linked to Iran's "resistance axis," which means pro-Iran groups such as Hezbollah or other militias. Al-Dabaa airport was reportedly targeted on July 22.
The report notes that the ship was attacked and that two people were killed. "According to the agency report, a ship was attacked off the coast of the Sultanate of Oman yesterday, Thursday, according to a maritime security group run by the British Royal Navy." The Al-Alam TV report then quotes Israeli media and notes that the ship was attacked somewhere off the coast of Oman.
Al-Alam has reported attacks on ships in the past. In April 2021 the TV station said that the cargo ship Hyperion Ray, which sails under the Bahamas flag, was attacked. That attack and an attack on Helios Ray has been linked to Iran by foreign media reports.
The report at Al-Alam is the first one in major Iranian media that points to an Iranian motive. Fars News and Tasnim had not even reported the incident as of Friday evening. This is strange, because they usually celebrate what they claim are attacks on Israel or Israeli-linked entities. This may indicate purposeful attempts to downplay the incident.
Reports say that two were killed in the attack on the ship, which was reportedly managed by an Israeli-owned company that is based in London. Drones were used in the attack. Iran has used drones to attack US forces in Iraq by supplying them to pro-Iran militias in Iraq. It has also sent drones to Yemen and helped Hamas and Hezbollah develop them. In February 2018 and May 2021, Iran flew drones from Syria into Israeli airspace and they were shot down. Iran thus has a powerful drone arm that may be behind the attack on the ship.
Seth J. Frantzman is a Ginsburg-Milstein Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and senior Middle East correspondent at The Jerusalem Post.