DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — After years of a shadow war between Iran and Israel, in which both sides use clandestine strikes against each other’s commercial and military ships, a British guard and a Romanian sailor have now been killed in a “suicide drone strike” on an oil tanker.
Here are the details: The Associated Press reports that the U.K. and U.S. joined Israel in saying Iran was behind an attack on an Israeli-operated oil tanker that killed two people, and have vowed to respond, calling it a violation of international law.
U.S. Navy explosive experts believe a drone strike hit the tanker off the coast of Oman, killing a British security guard and a Romanian ship worker.
The strike hit the bridge of the tanker Mercer Street on the night of Thursday, July 29.
It marks the first-known fatal attack after years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions with Iran.
While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Israeli officials alleged Tehran launched the drone strike against a ship that was being operated by an Israeli company.
Iran denied the allegations and said Israel killed the ship workers in a false-flag attack designed to show Iran in a bad light.
The attack comes after years of tit-for-tat attacks in which Israel and Iran use clandestine methods to attack each other’s commercial and military ships, using limpet mines, drones and other methods to cause damage.
A U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity said the attack appeared to have involved several drones, including a so-called “suicide drone,” which was presumably responsible for pressing home the attack itself.