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Iranian Tanker Reportedly Struck By Missiles In Red Sea

This photo released by the official news agency of the Iranian Oil Ministry, SHANA, shows Iranian oil tanker Sabiti traveling through the Red Sea on Friday. Iran says two missiles struck the tanker.

A pair of missiles hit an Iran-flagged oil tanker steaming off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea, causing an explosion and oil spill, Iranian officials said Friday.

Iran's state-run IRNA identified the tanker as the Sabiti, and Iranian state television says the explosions damaged two storage tanks and caused an oil spill that is now reportedly under control.

The Iranian media reports did not assign responsibility for the incident.

"The oil tanker named SABITI belonging to the company sustained damages to the body when it was hit by missiles 60 miles from the Saudi port city of Jiddah," IRNA said.

MarineTraffic, a ship-tracking website, says Sabiti was en route from Port Said, Egypt, to an unknown destination.

The incident is the latest in a series in recent months, most or all of which have occurred on the opposite side of the Arabian peninsula in waters near the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. has blamed Iran for the attacks, but Tehran denies any involvement.

Saudi Arabia made no immediate comment on the reported attack.

Last month, a major Saudi oil processing plant and an adjacent oil field were hit in a missile-and-drone attack claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels but that Riyadh and the U.S. blamed on Tehran.

Iran, which has supported the Houthis' fight against the Saudi-backed government in Sana'a, has denied any involvement in the attack.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.