Already hostile relations between Tehran and Tel Aviv took a turn for the worse in recent weeks amid back-and-forth claims about attacks on one another’s commercial vessels. Last week, US media reported that at least a dozen Iranian cargo ships, most of them carrying oil supplies to Syria, were targeted by Israel over a two-year period.
The cumulative losses suffered by Iran as a result of the suspected Israeli campaign of attacks against the Islamic Republic’s commercial shipping runs into the “billions of dollars,” Haaretz reports, extrapolating on estimates of losses which would be sustained in a single attack.
The Israeli newspaper bases estimates on losses in part on the average market value of an average tanker loaded with oil, which it calculates at up to $50 million. Iranian vessels are said to have been struck across multiple locations, including the Red Sea and Syria’s Mediterranean coast.
The newspaper boasts that unlike previous offensive operations by the Israeli Navy, which have occasionally seen commandos boarding vessels and engaging in shootouts with crews, the actions against Iran’s merchant vessels have taken place “below the radar,” with no overt takeovers carried out and no outright sinkings or killings reported. Still, some of the attacks were reportedly severe enough to damage ships beyond repair and force them to be towed back to their home ports.
Last week, Iranian…