Iran missile ‘strikes own ship and kills sailor’

An Iranian missile fired during a training exercise in the Gulf of Oman has reportedly struck a support vessel near its target, killing at least one sailor and wounding 15 others.

The friendly fire incident happened on Sunday near the port of Jask, some 790 miles south-east of Tehran, in the Gulf of Oman, Iranian state TV said.

The missile struck the Konarak, a Hendijan-class support ship, taking part in the exercise.

State television described the missile strike as an accident, saying the Konarak had remained too close to the target. The Konarak had been putting targets out in the water for other ships to fire upon, it said.

A local hospital admitted 12 sailors and treated another three with slight wounds, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.

Iranian media said the Konarak had been overhauled in 2018 and was able to launch sea and anti-ship missiles. The Dutch-made, 155-foot vessel was in service since 1988 and had capacity of 40 tonnes. It usually carries a crew of 20 sailors.

Iran regularly holds exercises in the region, which is close to the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of the world’s oil passes.

The US Navy’s 5th Fleet, which monitors the region, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Iranian media rarely report on mishaps during its exercises, signalling the severity of the incident.

This incident also comes amid months of heightened tensions between Iran and the US since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2018 and imposed crushing sanctions on the country.

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