Israel targeted at least a dozen Iranian oil ships bound for Syria since 2019, according to a report published by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
Multiple unnamed officials from the U.S. and the Middle East told the Journal that the vessels had been hit out of concern that oil profits from the cargo would go to fund extremism in the Middle East.
The strikes reportedly began in late 2019, employing weaponry such as water mines as ships traveled from the Red Sea and other parts of the region toward Syria.
U.S. officials also claimed that some of the cargo carried Iranian weaponry destined for the Syrian government.
Israel has not commented on the WSJ report.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has admitted that the IDF has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria, mostly targeting Iranian military infrastructure and Hezbollah units.
The new report potentially unveils a new dimension in Israel’s efforts to stop Iran from enlarging its influence in the region and comes amid soaring tensions between the two bitter enemies as the Biden administration looks to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The report comes after Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel accused Iran of “eco-terrorism,” blaming the country for a recent oil spill, which likely came from an Iranian tanker.
Also Thursday, social media users reported an attack on an Iranian cargo ship in the Mediterranean, which they claimed had been ignored by state media outlets. Discourse on Iranian social media accused Israel of the attack.