On Tuesday, Israel attacked an Iranian vessel that was operating in the Red Sea as a covert base for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Citing a US official, the New York Times reported that Israel notified the US that it was responsible for an attack on an Iranian cargo vessel off the coast of Djibouti in the southern Red Sea at about 6 a.m. on Tuesday. A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday that the vessel Saviz was lightly damaged due to an explosion but did not specify the cause of the explosion. No casualties were reported.
The IRGC-affiliated Tasnim news reported Tuesday that the ship was damaged in an explosion caused by limpet mines on the hull of the ship.
Saudi media later speculated that the blast was caused by “Israeli commandos”.
The incident comes after two strikes on Israeli vessels in the region and several reported counterattacks by Israel against Iranian maritime targets.
As a rule, the IDF does not comment on any possible activities outside the borders of Israel.
The Saviz was identified by The United States Naval Institute last year as a possible IRGC vessel, noting that the ship has not moved from its strategic position since mid-2017. “Officially Saviz is a merchant ship, but it is most likely a covert Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forward base.”
Al Arabiya provided a similar report, noting that the ship probably helped the Houthis in their efforts against Saudi Arabia, serving as a base for intelligence gathering and an armory for the Revolutionary Guard.
“Saviz is an Iranian ship believed to be masked as a cargo vessel has been identified as the “mother ship” stationed in the Red Sea providing targeting information for Houthi anti-ship attacks.”
The article reported that then-President Trump was planning on using sanctions to deal with the Saviz and other Iranian vessels that endangered shipping in the region.