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17 Indians On board Israeli-Linked Ship Seized By Iran: What Is New Delhi's Response?

The ship was seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the elite force that lost seven members, including two generals, in the Syria strike, Iranian state media reported on Saturday.

AP
Helicopter raid targetting a vessel near Strait of Hormuz | Photo: AP
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An Israeli-linked container ship with 25 crew members on board was seized by Iran off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, with 17 Indian nationals among the 25 crew members on board. 

The news agency ANI quoted sources stating, "We are aware that a cargo ship ‘MSC Aries’ has been taken control of by Iran. We have learnt that there are 17 Indian nationals onboard. We are in touch with the Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and in Delhi, to ensure the security, welfare and early release of Indian nationals."

The ship was seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the elite force that lost seven members, including two generals, in the Syria strike, Iranian state media reported on Saturday.

“The ship has now been guided towards the territorial waters of our country,” state-run IRNA reported.

The ship, associated with the London-based Zodiac Maritime, is part of the Zodiac Group run by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer and his family. Footage obtained by The Associated Press news agency showed soldiers rappelling down from a helicopter.

New Delhi Is In touch With Iran 

India is in touch with Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and Delhi, 'to ensure the welfare and early release of the Indian nationals.'

According to a source speaking to news agency PTI, "We are aware that a cargo ship 'MSC Aries' has been taken control by Iran. We have learnt that there are 17 Indian nationals onboard." 

"We are in touch with the Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and in Delhi, to ensure security, welfare and early release of Indian nationals," it said.

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Middle East On High Alert

The US military is increasing its presence in the Middle East due to concerns about a potential response from Iran following the Israeli attack on the consulate in Syria which resulted in the deaths of seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members, including two generals.

Since the start of the war on Gaza after the October 7 attacks in Israel, the US has sent thousands of bombs and ammunition to its ally Israel despite growing international criticism, along with moving warships and troops to the region.

US President Joe Biden said he expected an Iranian retaliation to come “sooner than later” and that Washington will continue to defend Israel.

“Don’t,” he said when asked by reporters if he had a message for Iran.

The beginning of a state-on-state conflict between Iran and Israel would mark a serious escalation in the region already distressed because of Israel's war on Gaza.

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