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Israeli-owned ship hit by explosion to be assessed in Dubai

Containers seen being offloaded at the DP World operated Jebel Ali Port, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on December 26, 2007 [Charles Crowell/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
Containers seen being offloaded at the DP World operated Jebel Ali Port, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on December 26, 2007 [Charles Crowell/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

An Israeli-owned ship hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman will be assessed in Dubai where it is due to arrive on Monday, a spokesman for Dubai state port operator DP World said on Sunday, according to a report by Reuters.

The MV Helios Ray, a vehicle-carrier ship, was hit overnight between Thursday and Friday by a blast above the water line that a US defence official said ripped holes in both sides of its hull.

"We are aware a cargo ship was damaged off the coast of Oman. It's due in (Dubai's) DryDocks on March 1st where an assessment can be made," the DP World spokesman said, declining to comment further.

DP World owns and operates the dry docks, where ship repairs and maintenance are carried out.

Israel: Iran might be behind explosion on Israeli-owned ship

Israeli's defence minister said on Saturday that an initial assessment had found that Iran was responsible for the explosion.

"Iran is looking to hit Israeli infrastructure and Israeli citizens," Gantz told the Israeli public broadcaster Kan. "The location of the ship in relative close proximity to Iran raises the notion, the assessment, that it is the Iranians."

There was no immediate comment from Iranian officials.

The ship is owned by Tel Aviv-based Ray Shipping Ltd through a company registered in the Isle of Man, according to a UN shipping database.

An Israeli delegation was en route to Dubai to investigate the incident, Israeli Channel 13 News reported Saturday. The broadcaster said that Israeli defence officials believed the Iranian navy had launched a precision strike to avoid casualties, firing two missiles at a part of the ship that if damaged would not have sunk the vessel.

Iran said in November it would make a "calculated" response to the killing of its top nuclear scientist, which it blamed on Israel.

Tensions have risen in the Gulf region since the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 after then-president Donald Trump withdrew Washington from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers.

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