Drone fired from Iran strikes tanker off India's coast, Pentagon says

What to know about Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, coalition to protect commercial shipping

A chemical tanker struck Saturday off the coast of India was targeted "by a one-way attack drone fired from Iran," the Pentagon said in a statement.

The attack took place around 10 a.m. local time and caused no casualties aboard the Japanese-owned vessel, it said, adding that a fire was extinguished.

The U.S. military "remains in communication with the vessel as it continues toward a destination in India," it added.

The Pentagon statement said the Chem Pluto ship flew under a Liberian flag and was operated by a Dutch entity.

The drone strike occurred 200 nautical miles off the coast of India, it said, adding that no U.S. Navy vessels were in the vicinity.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the strike which came amid a flurry of drone and missile attacks by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels on a vital shipping lane in the Red Sea. The U.S. on Friday accused Iran of close involvement in those attacks. 

However, Iran's deputy foreign minister on Saturday dismissed those U.S. accusations, claiming the group was acting on its own.

The Houthis say they are conducting the attacks in solidarity with Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Indian navy said it had responded to a request for assistance.

"An aircraft was dispatched and it reached overhead the vessel and established safety of the involved ship and its crew," a navy official told AFP.

"An Indian navy warship has also been dispatched so as to provide assistance as required."


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