Several US military officials and military intelligence officials are saying off the record on Thursday morning that Israel is behind the mysterious sinking of a warship, Iran’s newest and largest naval vessel, on Wednesday. An oil refinery was also hit.

The Kharg caught on fire and sank in the Gulf of Oman and the Israelis aren’t taking responsibility. But US officials say the Iranians know the Israelis did it, but refuse to admit it to save face. The ship was a replenishment vessel, allowing other forces to remain engaged for longer periods. The sinking is a likely Israeli response to the Iranian instigation and direction of the recent Second Gaza War. Two more Iranian vessels are headed for Venezuela. That could spark a clash with the US Navy due to American sanctions.

FNC: “The Iranian navy’s largest warship caught fire and sank Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman, according to reports. The support warship Kharg sank under unclear circumstances near the Iranian port of Jask, about 790 miles southeast of Tehran, semiofficial news agencies reported. Firefighters tried to contain the blaze, which ignited around 2:25 a.m., but efforts to save the Kharg – named after the island that serves as the main oil terminal for Iran – were unsuccessful, according to the Fars and Tasnim news agencies.

“The Kharg – described by State TV and the semiofficial news agencies as a “training ship” – can lift heavy cargo and serve as a launch point for helicopters. It’s also one of the only vessels in the Iranian navy capable of providing replenishment at sea for its other ships. The ship was built in Britain and launched in 1977, before entering the Iranian navy in 1984. Iran’s navy typically handles patrols in the Gulf of Oman and the wider seas, while the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard operates in the shallower waters of the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. In recent months, however, the navy launched a slightly larger commercial tanker called the Makran it converted into serving a similar function as the Kharg.”

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The destruction of the Kharg marks the latest naval debacle for the theocratic terrorist state. In 2020, during a training exercise, a missile struck a naval vessel near the port of Jask, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15. In 2018, an Iranian destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea.