• Sunday, Oct 25, 2020
  • Last Update : 04:07 am

19 dead as Iran warship hit by 'friendly fire' in Middle East

  • Published at 03:50 pm May 11th, 2020
IRAN-MILIARY-NAVY-DRILL
File photo: Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard troops attacks a naval vessel during a military drill in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran on February 25, 2015 AFP

The vessel had been towed ashore for 'technical investigations', it said in a statement, calling on people to 'avoid speculation' until further information is released

An Iranian warship was hit by a friendly fire missile during naval exercises, killing 19 sailors, state media and the army said Monday, amid tensions with the US in Gulf waters.

The incident involving the Konarak vessel occurred on Sunday afternoon near Bandar-e Jask, off the southern coast of the Islamic republic, state television's website said.

"The vessel was hit after moving a practice target to its destination and not creating enough distance between itself and the target," said the channel.

Nineteen crewmen were killed and 15 injured in an "accident" during the exercises, the armed forces said, without elaborating.

The vessel had been towed ashore for "technical investigations", it said in a statement, calling on people to "avoid speculation" until further information is released.

Tasnim news agency said in an English-language tweet that the Konarak was hit by the missile fired by another Iranian warship.

The vessel had been hit by "'friendly fire' after Moudge-class frigate 'Jamaran' accidentally shot (it) with a missile during live firing exercise in Jask area of #PersianGulf waters."

File photo: A view of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy frigate ‘Jamaran’ during Iran-Russia-China joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman on December 27, 2019 /AFP

The 15 injured were hospitalized in Sistan and Baluchistan, said Mohammad-Mehran Aminifard, head of the province's medical university.

Two of the sailors were in intensive care, he told the semi-official news agency ISNA.

Iran's army chief and foreign minister offered their condolences to the sailors' families in separate statements.

Trump 'shoot down' threat

The Konarak is a logistical support vessel made in the Netherlands and purchased by Iran before the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Weighing 447 tonnes and 47 metres (154 feet) long, the Hendijan-class vessel is equipped with four cruise missiles, according to state television.

It was not immediately clear how many crew members had been on board the warship at the time of the accident.

Iran and its arch enemy the United States have traded barbs in the past year over a spate of incidents involving their forces in the sensitive Gulf waters.

Their latest high-seas confrontation came on April 15, when the United States claimed Iranian boats had "harassed" its navy ships in the waterway.

President Donald Trump then tweeted that he had ordered the US Navy to "shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea."

His Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani reacted by saying Washington "should not plot against the Iranian nation every day," adding that the Islamic republic had "protected this waterway for thousands of years."

Airline disaster 

The friendly-fire incident occurred near the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint for a third of the world's seaborne oil.

The escalation of Iran-US tensions last year saw ships mysteriously attacked, drones downed and oil tankers seized in the strait.

In July 2019, Iran's Revolutionary Guards seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero in the waterway for allegedly hitting a fishing boat and released it two months later.

The Guards seized at least six other ships that year over alleged fuel smuggling.

Tensions have escalated since 2018 when Trump withdrew the United States from a multinational accord that froze Iran's nuclear program, and reimposed crippling sanctions on its economy.

Iran's armed forces in January mistakenly shot down a Kiev-bound Boeing 737 passenger jet shortly after takeoff from Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard.

The military admitted to the catastrophic error, saying it came as Iran's air defenses were on high alert after firing a barrage of missiles at US troops stationed in Iraq.

Iran launched the missiles in retaliation for the United States' killing of its top general Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike days before that.

50
50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail