Iranian Army via AP
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The Israeli-owned Helios Ray ship was hit on Thursday night by an unidentified explosion that tore two holes in the vessel.


Iran is behind the attack in the Persian Gulf on an Israeli-owned ship, Minister of Defense Benny Gantz said, an incident developing at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East.

The Helios Ray, sailing between Oman and Iran and carrying a cargo of cars on its way from Saudi Arabia to Singapore, was hit on Thursday night by an unidentified explosion that bore two holes in the ship. No one was injured in the apparent attack.

The ship docked in Dubai and an Israeli team was reportedly dispatched to the United Arab Emirates to participate in the investigation into the incident.

The ship was sailing under the flag of the Bahamas and is part of the British Ray Car Carriers, owned by Israeli Ramy Unger.

In an interview with the Kan 11 broadcaster on Saturday night, Gantz said that “the location of the ship near Iran leads to the assessment that the Iranians are behind the operation. This is my estimate and we will continue to investigate it.”

Israeli officials estimate that the attack was carried out by Iran as a signal to Israel, knowing that the ship is under Israeli ownership.

The officials further estimate that the Iranians did not want to sink the ship but sent a warning to Israel that it has the capability to do so.

Security officials are quoted as saying that Israel will retaliate for the attack.