Iran missile strikes own ship and kills 19 sailors
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Iran’s armed forces killed 19 Iranian sailors and injured 15 in a live-fire exercise in the Gulf of Oman in the second major military disaster for the country in four months.
The sailors were aboard the Konarak, a naval support ship, during an army drill off the Iranian port city of Jask on Sunday when they were hit by a missile.
The friendly-fire incident follows the 8 January downing of a Ukraine International Airlines plane while it was ascending from the capital, Tehran, by Iranian Revolutionary Guards air defence personnel who mistook it for an American missile. All 176 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 737-800 were killed.
Tensions between the United States and Iran have mounted since Washington abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal and pursued punishing sanctions as part of a hardline policy of “maximum pressure” against Tehran.
Iran has responded by upping its nuclear programme, continuing to refine its missile capabilities, launching alleged attacks on Arabian Peninsula oil infrastructure and increasing its harassment of US ships in the Persian Gulf.