Enlarge image

The oil tanker »M/V Central Park«

Photo: Zodiac Maritime / AP

In the Red Sea, another cargo ship has been attacked. An oil tanker belonging to a British company linked to Israel was hijacked by armed assailants. There are "indications that an unknown number of armed persons took control of the M/V Central Park on November 26 in the Gulf of Aden," a U.S. naval official told AFP. Already on Saturday, the US military had spoken of an attack on another Israeli ship in the Indian Ocean.

U.S. troops and their allies are "nearby" and are monitoring the situation "closely," it said about the capture of the oil tanker.

Maritime security firm Ambrey said that "U.S. naval forces were involved in the situation" after the ship "Central Park" was hijacked off the coast of the Yemeni port city of Aden. According to Ambrey, the tanker is owned by a U.K.-based company affiliated with Israel. Earlier, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen threatened to attack the tanker if it did not move into the port of Hodeidah, it said.

Attacks on freighters in the Red Sea are on the rise

The incident occurred two days after an Israeli ship in the Indian Ocean was allegedly attacked by Iran. The U.S. has information that "a Shahed 136 drone hit a ship in the Indian Ocean," a U.S. military official told AFP on Saturday. The ship, which is said to belong to an Israeli businessman, was slightly damaged on Friday. However, there were no casualties on board.

Shahed 136 drones are part of the arsenal of Iran's armed forces – which could indicate an Iranian attack.

According to Ambrey, the ship attacked on Friday was a "container ship under the Maltese flag" and was operated by a French company. Prior to the attack, transmissions to locate the ship were interrupted shortly after it left the port of Jebel Ali in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The escalation of incidents over the weekend came after threats by Yemen's pro-Iranian Houthi militia to attack Israeli ships and ships of Israel's allies operating in the Red Sea. Last Sunday, a Houthi spokesman said that the Shiite militant group had hijacked a ship in the Red Sea and brought it to the Yemeni coast.