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BEIRUT: An Iranian tanker was attacked off Syria's coast Saturday sparking a fire, in the first assault of its kind since the war started a decade ago, a war monitor said. It was not clear who carried out the attack which caused no casualties, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It was not clear either if a drone or a missile was used in the attack, the Observatory said.

State news agency SANA, quoting the oil ministry, said the fire erupted after "what was believed to be an attack by a drone from the direction of Lebanese waters". The flames were later extinguished.

In a report published last month that cited US and Middle East officials, the Wall Street Journal said Israel had targeted at least a dozen vessels bound for Syria and mostly carrying Iranian oil since late 2019.

Hundreds of Israeli air strikes have also struck Syria since the war began in 2011, mostly targeting Damascus regime allies from Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement and Syrian government troops. The Banias oil refinery is located in the regime-controlled coastal province of Tartus.

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