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Iran missile ‘accidentally’ strikes own ship, kills one sailor

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State media say a missile hit a support ship in a friendly-fire incident, killing at least one sailor and wounding others.

An Iranian missile fired during a training implementation in the Gulf of Oman has hit a support vessel near its target, killing at least one sailor and offending several others, according to Iranian media. 

The friendly fire incident happened on Sunday near the port of Jask, some 1,270 kMs (790 miles) southeast of Tehran on the Gulf of Oman, Iranian state TV said on Monday, citing the Iranian navy.

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

State television described the incident as an accident, saying the Konarak, which had been putting targets out in the water for other ships to fire on, had stayed too close to a target.

Unintentionally the ship was hit with a missile during the workout, in which at least 16 people were injured and one person was killed ,” Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

The state-run IRNA news agency said a local hospital had admitted 12 sailors and treated another three with slight wounds

Iran’s army confirmed the death of one sailor, saying in a statement that “investigations” were continuing regarding the cause of the incident.

Iranian media said the Konarak had been overhauled in 2018 and was able to launch sea missiles. The Dutch-made, 47-metre (155-foot) vessel had been in service since 1988. It was not immediately clear how many crew members were on board the warship at the time of the accident.

Turkey’s Anadolu Agency said at least 20 people had been killed and that there were as many as 40 crew members on board the Konarak.

Anadolu said the incident had been deemed “human error”, citing sources in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Iran regularly holds exercises in the Gulf of Oman, which is closed to the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Gulf, through which 20 percent of the world’s oil passes.

The incident also comes at a time of heightened tensions between Iran and the United States. Relations between the two foes have deteriorated sharply since 2018, when US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from a 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran. Washington then re-imposed sanctions on Tehran, crippling its economy.

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