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US targeted Iranian warship with cyberattack – NBC

The operation aimed to degrade the vessel’s ability to share intelligence with the Houthis, US officials told the broadcaster

The US carried out a cyberattack on an Iranian warship in the Red Sea over a week ago, NBC has reported, citing unnamed American officials.

The operation was part of a response by the administration of US President Joe Biden following a drone attack on a US base in Jordan in late January, in which three American troops were killed and 40 others wounded, the broadcaster said on Thursday. The retaliation by Washington also included airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against what it said were Iran-backed militias.

One of the sources identified the hacked Iranian warship as MV Behshad. According to the Marine Traffic website, the vessel has been operating off Djibouti’s coast in the Horn of Africa since January. The cyberattack was aimed at degrading the ability of MV Behshad to gather information about the movement of ships in the Red Sea and provide it to Houthi fighters in Yemen, the official claimed.

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Since mid-October, the Houthis have launched multiple drones and missiles targeting Israeli-bound vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, which disrupted traffic along one of the world’s key shipping routes. The group said it was acting in support of Palestinians and will continue attacks until Israel stops its military operation in Gaza. The Houthis continue to target ships in the area despite the US and UK airstrikes against their facilities, which began last month.

In his interview with NBC last week, Iran’s envoy to the UN, Amir Saeid Iravani, denied claims that MV Behshad had been collecting intelligence for the Houthis. The ship was deployed to the Red Sea “to combat the piracy activities,” he insisted.

When asked whether Tehran had been providing arms to the Houthis, Iravani replied by saying: “Not at all.” The Yemeni fighters “have their own weapons” and themselves decided how to use them, he said. “We are not directing them. We are not commanding them. We have a common consultation with each other,” the diplomat added.

READ MORE: US drone strike kills Iraq-based militia leaders

The US officials who talked to NBC said the American strikes in Iraq and Syria had failed to deter Iran, claiming that the country continues to provide arms and intelligence to its “proxies” in the region.

February 16, 2024 at 04:48PM

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