ISTANBUL — Missiles struck an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Saudi Arabia on Friday, Iran’s state news agency reported, damaging the ship’s hull and spilling oil into the Red Sea.

The tanker was hit by two explosions near the Saudi port city of Jiddah, local media reported, quoting the National Iranian Tanker Company. The blasts were under investigation by technical experts aboard the vessel, the company said. It denied initial reports that the ship, which state media identified as the Sabity, had caught fire. 

Lt. Pete Pagano, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet overseeing the Middle East, told the Associated Press that authorities there were “aware of reports of this incident,” but he declined to comment further. 

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Oil prices rose on the news. Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, climbed 1.7 percent to $60.10 a barrel, and West Texas Intermediate crude was up 1.9 percent to $54.58 a barrel in futures trading in London and New York respectively.

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The incident comes amid apparent tit-for-tat attacks on oil tankers and facilities in the Persian Gulf region in recent months, as the United States has tightened sanctions on Iran’s oil exports as part of its maximum-pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic. 

This past month, a drone-and-cruise-missile attack on Saudi oil facilities crippled the desert kingdom’s output. The United States blamed the attack on Iran, which denied involvement. The Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for the assault. 

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In July, Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz just two weeks after an Iranian supertanker was detained off the coast of Gibraltar on suspicion of transporting oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

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