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Fire on Turkish ship in Haifa started in engine room, not a missile attack: report

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Images showing a Turkish-owned ship docked at the Port of Haifa on fire were falsely used to claim that a strike by Lebanese militant group Hezbollah managed to hit the port with missiles, the Polygraph news website reported on Friday, citing Israeli officials.

Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Lebanese militia and political movement, continue to rise amid Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza.

Israel said on Wednesday it hit a Hezbollah command and control center in southern Lebanon, killing a senior Hezbollah field commander and three other fighters. In response, Hezbollah launched its largest barrage of missiles at Israel since October 2023, when Tel Aviv declared the country was at war after an unprecedented Hamas incursion that resulted in the death of 1,200 people in the country and the taking of some 250 hostages.

At least 37,296 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s ongoing offensive on the Gaza Strip since October, the health ministry in the besieged enclave said on Saturday.

On June 10 Israel’s defense forces reportedly intercepted missiles fired from Lebanon aimed at Haifa, a major port city in northern Israel, and another port city, Acre. Israeli media posted videos of air defense interceptions.

Some users on social media claimed that Hezbollah had successfully attacked the Port of Haifa.

Iran Spectator, an anonymous account with 38K followers, posted an image of a ship with black smoke rising above it, claiming that Hezbollah had struck Haifa’s port.

A fire did occur on the Yaf Horizon, a ship owned by Turkish company Milestone Ship Management, docked at the Port of Haifa, on June 10.

The vessel, carrying iron and steel cargo, had sailed from Novorossiysk, Russia, and stopped at the Port of Haifa. Maritime news websites reported that a fire started in the ship’s engine room but was contained.

According to the report by Polygraph, the ship has a history of inspection violations, including engine room cleanliness issues and nonworking fire alarms.

Members of the “Axis of Resistance,” which includes Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthi militants in Yemen and other armed groups in the Middle East and North Africa, have previously claimed successful attacks on the Haifa port. On June 6, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq and Houthi militants in Yemen claimed to have conducted accurate drone strikes against ships at the Port of Haifa, which Israel’s military denied.

The Houthis have managed to halt port operations at Eilat, a southern Israeli town on the Red Sea, prompting Israel to reroute shipping to its Mediterranean ports.

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