Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Seizes Israeli-Linked Vessel in Strait of Hormuz

Tensions Escalate as IRGC Action Sparks International Condemnation

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In a significant escalation of tensions in the maritime domain, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran announced the seizure of a vessel purportedly associated with Israel in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, situated in the Persian Gulf. This development was confirmed by the state news agency, which is closely affiliated with the elite military body.

The captured vessel has been identified as the MSC ARIES, registered in London and reportedly linked to Zodiac Maritime, as per local media reports. Zodiac Maritime, an international shipping company, partially owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer, has previously encountered hostile actions against its fleet, as reported by the Associated Press.

The seizure of the cargo vessel occurs amidst heightened international tension following the potential retaliatory strike by Iran against Israel. This retaliation is purportedly in response to the Israeli airstrike targeting the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1st, resulting in the fatalities of seven senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officials. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has reiterated on numerous occasions in recent weeks the imperative of holding the “Zionist regime” accountable, sentiments echoed by various high-ranking officials following the Damascus attack.

Following the incident, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Kantz has called upon European Union members to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “terrorist group,” a classification already endorsed by the United States and under consideration by EU bodies for several months. Kantz’s message, shared on his X profile, highlights the seizure of a Portuguese civilian cargo vessel, purportedly Israeli-owned, by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“The regime led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is a criminal entity that sponsors the crimes of Hamas and is now engaged in pirate operations in violation of international law. I urge the European Union and the free world to immediately declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization and sanction Iran now,” Kantz asserted.

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari emphasized Israel’s readiness to bear the consequences of any escalation and accused Iran of financing, training, and arming terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthi insurgency in Yemen. Hagari also attributed Iran’s government to exacerbating the conflict in Gaza into a global crisis.

“We are facing the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. It is a terror network that not only threatens the people of Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, or Syria but also fuels warfare in Ukraine and beyond,” Hagari emphasized during a press briefing.

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