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Smoke rises from Marlin Luanda, merchant vessel, at the location given as Gulf of Aden.

Smoke rises from Marlin Luanda, merchant vessel, after the vessel was struck by a Houthi anti-ship missile, at the location given as Gulf of Aden, in this handout picture released January 27, 2024. @indiannavy via X/Handout via REUTERS

Iranian Ship Linked to Houthi Attacks Heads Home Amid Tensions

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April 18, 2024

(Bloomberg) —

An Iranian ship that’s been linked to Houthi attacks in the Red Sea is returning home, removing a prominent asset in the area as the Islamic Republic braces for a potential Israeli attack.

Behshad, which Iran calls an “intelligence and logistics” vessel, left its position near the coast of Yemen on April 4, then stopped broadcasting its location until it reappeared near the Strait of Hormuz early on April 18, according to tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s signaling it will arrive at Iran’s Bandar Abbas port later Thursday.

The US has said Iran is “deeply involved” in the Houthi campaign against commercial shipping in the Red Sea, an accusation that Tehran denies. Behshad in particular was the subject of a US cyberattack earlier this year for its alleged role in gathering intelligence for the attacks, NBC reported in February, citing three US officials. Analysts at EOS Risk Group and Dryad Global have also tied Behshad to the Houthi campaign. 

Behshad’s redeployment came days after a suspected Israeli air strike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus on April 1. Tehran responded last weekend with an unprecedented missile and drone attack on the Jewish state, and is now bracing for an Israeli response. The US is calling for restraint to avoid further escalation.

Iran’s state media hasen’t commented on Behshad’s latest movements and it’s not clear if the ship will return to the Gulf of Aden. It had been deployed there to replace another vessel, Saviz, which was damaged by limpet mines in 2021 during another bout of tit-for-tat attacks between Iran and Israel. 

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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