Israeli Ship Attacked, Linked To Famous Billionaire

( According to the British military, an Israeli-owned oil tanker came under attack late Thursday night in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman. The vessel is operated by Zodiac Maritime, a London-based company belonging to Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer. Two crew members died during the attack.

This attack comes amidst rising tensions between Israel and Iran as negotiations over the nuclear deal remain at a stalemate.

In recent months there have been other targeted attacks against Israeli ships which Israeli officials blame on Iran. Earlier in July, a vessel bound for the United Arab Emirates was struck in the northern Indian Ocean – this ship was previously owned by Ofer’s Zodiac Maritime.

In a brief statement Friday, the British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations said that an investigation is underway into the latest incident which occurred just northeast of the Omani Island of Masirah, about 185 miles southeast of Oman’s capital, Muscat.

While the statement provided little by way of details, the British military did say it believed the attack did not involve piracy. On Thursday, the British military group also released a statement saying it was investigating another unexplained incident in the same area, but did not elaborate.

Neither Oman, nor the US Navy’s 5th Fleet which patrols in the Middle East have issued any comment on Thursday’s incident.

Over the last several months Israel and Iran have each accused the other of attacking a number of merchant ships. While the ships were damaged with explosives, the vessels in each case were only slightly damaged and no injuries occurred.

In late February, an explosion struck the Israeli-owned MV Helios Ray, a cargo ship sailing under the Bahamian flag. This attack occurred in the Gulf of Oman. Former Prime Minister Netanyahu accused Iran of the attack, which Iran denied. However, according to experts the attack is similar to other attacks carried out by the Iranian regime.

In March, another Israeli-owned vessel in the Gulf of Oman came under missile attack, most likely by Iranian forces.

That same month the Wall Street Journal reported that Israel has targeted at least 12 ships bound for Syria. Most of those ships were transporting Iranian oil, while others were transporting mines and other weapons.