British officials: Vessel on fire in Gulf off Sharjah in UAE
AP, , Wednesday 29 Jan 2020

A vessel in the Arabian Gulf caught fire Wednesday night, prompting a warning from British naval officials to "exercise extreme caution."

The United Kingdom's Maritime Trade Operations said the fire struck a vessel northwest of Sharjah, an Emirati sheikhdom. It offered no other information about the vessel.

Officials with the U.S. military similarly said they knew of the fire, but had no further information.

The United Arab Emirates did not immediately acknowledge the fire and officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The blaze comes amid heightened tensions in the region after the U.S. killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad and Iran fired ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.

The U.S. blames Iran for planting mines that exploded against tankers last year near the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Arabian Gulf through which 20% of all oil passes. Iran denied being involved, though it did seize oil tankers and shoot down a U.S. military surveillance drone.