ISRAEL: On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran for attacking an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman last week.
The explosion revived security concerns in Mideast waterways amid heightened tensions with Iran. On Sunday, the ship came to Dubai’s port for repairs.
The blast struck the Israeli-owned MV Helios Ray, a Bahamian-flagged roll-on roll-off vehicle cargo ship that was on its way to Singapore on Friday. None of the crew members were injured in the incident. It remains unclear what caused the blast on the vessel. The Helios Ray had discharged cars at various ports in the Persian Gulf before the explosion forced it to reverse course.
In a statement, Netanyahu said, “I was indeed an act by Iran, that’s clear. Iran is the greatest enemy of Israel, I am determined to halt it. We are hitting it in the entire region.”
Israel’s defense minister Benny Gantz said on Saturday that the Jewish state’s “initial assessment” is that Iran is responsible for the explosion aboard the vessel.
“This… takes into account the proximity (with Iran) and the “context” in which the blast occurred. This is what I believe,” he added.
According to a report by American defense officials, the Israeli ship sustained two holes on its port side and two on its starboard side just above the waterline.
Meanwhile, Iran has sought to pressure the US to lift sanctions on Tehran as President Joe Biden’s administration considers the option for returning to negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.
Biden has previously said that the US would return to the nuclear deal between Tehran that his predecessor, Donald Trump withdrew in 2018.