Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid: “Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terrorism, destruction and instability that harms us all.”
Iran is behind Thursday’s deadly drone attack on an Israeli-owned oil tanker, Israeli officials reveal. Two European crew members, a British and Romanian, were killed in the attack on a ship off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea.
The attack was carried out by multiple armed suicide drones, a tactic perfected by Iran and Iranian proxy jihadi groups in their terror campaign against neighboring Arab Gulf countries.
The “strike earlier this week was apparently carried out by a number of Iranian drones that slammed into the ship’s living quarters underneath the vessel’s command center as it sailed off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea,” The Times of Israel reported citing official sources.
The Israeli government demanded an international response to growing Iranian aggression in the high seas. “Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapad called for a tough response and said he was in consultation with his British counterpart Dominic Raab, and that the issue would be taken to the UN, the BBC reported.
This is not the first Iranian attack of its kind in the international waters. In March, an Israeli-owned cargo ship was hit by an explosion, probably caused by a sea mine or missile, in the Gulf of Oman.
The news agency Reuters reported the Iranian involvement in Thursday’s attack:
A Briton and a Romanian were killed when an Israeli-managed petroleum product tanker came under attack on Thursday off the coast of Oman, the company said on Friday, in an incident that Israel’s foreign minister blamed on Iran and said deserved a harsh response.
There were varying explanations for what happened to the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned ship, with Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime describing the incident as “suspected piracy” and a source at the Oman Maritime Security Center as an accident that occurred outside Omani territorial waters.
Iran and Israel have traded accusations of attacking each other’s vessels in recent months and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he had told Britain’s foreign secretary of the need for a tough response to the incident in which two crew members, one British and the other Romanian, were killed.
“Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terrorism, destruction and instability that harms us all. The world must not be silent in the face of Iranian terrorism that also harms freedom of shipping,” Lapid said in a statement.
U.S. and European sources familiar with intelligence reporting said Iran was their leading suspect for the incident, which a U.S. defense official said appeared to have been carried out by a drone, but stressed their governments were seeking conclusive evidence.
The incident should be of great concern to the Western economies dependent on the oil supply from the Middle East. The drone attack took place near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway where ships carry one-third of the world’s oil supply.
Iran has repeatedly used attacks on the world’s busiest oil transit choke point to intimidate the West and neighboring Arab countries. In June 2019, Tehran attacked Norwegian and Japanese oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Following those attacks, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, boasted about the regime’s ability to destroy ships in international waters. Iranian “missiles can hit with great precision carriers in the sea,” IRGC chief Hossein Salami claimed.
Iran is upgrading its drone warfare and other advanced military capabilities as President Joe Biden is easing arms embargo and economic sanctions on the regime. In February, The Biden White House reversed former President Donald Trump’s decision to enforce international arms embargo on Tehran. The move eases Iran’s ability to buy Russian and Chinese weapons and military technology.DONATE
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