Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday said Iran was “absolutely” to blame for an attack on an Israeli-operated ship off the coast of Oman that killed two people, adding the regime had made a “grave mistake” in doing so.
Tehran denied involvement in Thursday night’s attack on the Mercer Street ship, saying the claim was “baseless.”
Two of the oil tanker’s crewmen, a British and a Romanian national, died in the drone attack.
“I say with no hesitation that Iran is absolutely the one that attacked the ship,” Bennett said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
He went on to say Israel had intelligence materials that prove Iran’s culpability and called on the international community to let Tehran know it had made a serious mistake.
“In any event, we know how to convey this message to Iran in our own ways,” Bennett added.
“Iran’s bullying is dangerous not only for Israel, endangers not only Israel, but also harms global interests, namely freedom of maritime navigation and international trade,” the prime minister said.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made similar remarks earlier to his foreign counterparts, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken.“We are working together against Iranian terrorism, which poses a threat to all of us, by formulating a real and effective international response,” Lapid tweeted, following his call with Blinken.“Iran has time and again underestimated Israel’s determination to defend itself and its interests,” Lapid wrote.“Foreign Ministry officials are working in all the relevant arenas to promote international condemnation and response,” he wrote.Blinken and Lapid “agreed to work with the UK, Romania, and other international partners to investigate the facts, provide support, and consider the appropriate next steps,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in response to Israel’s accusations: “The Zionist regime (Israel) has created insecurity terror and violence. These accusations about Iran’s involvement are condemned by Tehran.”