Israeli cargo ship hit in attack by Iranian kamikaze drone

A container ship owned by an Israeli billionaire has reportedly been damaged in an attack in the Indian Ocean by a drone that the US suspects to be Iranian.

An unnamed American defence official was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the Malta-flagged CMA CGM Symi was believed to have been targeted by a Shahed-136 drone while sailing in international waters.

The drone exploded, causing damage to the ship but not injuring any of its crew.

The apparent attack comes as global shipping routes have emerged as targets in the sprawling war between Israel and Iran-backed Hamas.

The Shahed-136 drone is Iranian and has also widely been used across Ukraine by Russian forces.

The ship had its automatic identification system (AIS) tracker switched off since Tuesday when it left Dubai’s Jebel Ali port, according to data from

Houthis vowed to target ships

Ships are supposed to keep their AIS active for safety reasons, but crews will turn them off if it appears they might be targeted. The vessel had done the same earlier when travelling through the Red Sea past Yemen, home to the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

The Houthis have vowed to target ships with links to Israel, but their attacks usually take place in the Red Sea.

The Symi ship is owned by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, which is a company ultimately controlled by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.

The attack appeared to take place just hours before the limited ceasefire between Israel and Hamas began, which Iran’s proxies were mostly expected to abide by despite not being directly involved in the agreement.

Neither Israel nor Iran has commented on the incident and it remains unclear where the drone was launched from.

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