Two missiles struck an Iranian tanker traveling through the Red Sea off the coast of Saudi Arabia Friday, Iranian officials said, the latest incident in the region amid months of heightened tensions between Tehran and the US. Saudi officials didn't immediately respond to requests for comment, per the AP. The state-run IRNA news agency, quoting Iran's National Iranian Tanker Co., identified the stricken vessel as the Sabiti. Iranian state TV said the explosion damaged two storerooms aboard the oil tanker and caused an oil leak into the Red Sea near Jiddah. The leak was later stopped, per IRNA. "This latest incident, if confirmed to be an act of aggression, is highly likely to be part of the wider narrative of deteriorating relations between [the Saudis] and the US and Iran," private maritime security firm Dryad Maritime warned.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi described the incident as an "attack" carried out by those committing "dangerous adventurism." In a statement, Mousavi said the Sabiti was struck twice in the span of a half-hour and that an investigation was underway. "The oil tanker ... sustained damages to the body when it was hit by missiles," IRNA said. The agency didn't say whom Iranian officials suspect of launching the missiles. Images released by Iran's Petroleum Ministry appeared to show no visible damage to the Sabiti visible from its bridge, though they didn't show the ship's sides. A spokesman for the US Navy's 5th Fleet overseeing the Mideast said authorities there were "aware of reports of this incident," but he declined to comment further.
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