Dubai, August 1
Israel’s Prime Minister on Sunday directly blamed Iran for a drone attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman that killed two persons, making a veiled threat to retaliate as Tehran denied being involved in the assault.
The comments by Premier Naftali Bennett and Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh come after the Thursday night strike on the oil tanker Mercer Street. The attack marked the first-known fatal attack after years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions with Iran over its tattered nuclear deal.
Know how to hit back
The Iranian attackers intended to harm an Israeli target. We know how to convey the message to Iran in our own way. —Naftali Bennett, Israel prime minister
It’s not the first time the Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem has made such empty accusations against Iran. —Saeed Khatibzadeh, Iranian spokesman
While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Iran and its militia allies have used so-called “suicide” drones in attacks previously.
“The Iranians who attacked with unmanned aircraft the Mercer Street intended to harm an Israeli target,” Bennett said at the start of Israel’s weekly Cabinet meeting. “Instead, their piratical act caused the deaths of a British citizen and a Romanian citizen.” He warned, “We know how to convey the message to Iran in our own way.”
On Sunday, Khatibzadeh described the allegations that Iran carried out the attack as “baseless” during his last news conference as the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman.
“It’s not the first time that the Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem has made such empty accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Wherever this regime has gone, it has taken instability, terror and violence with it. Whoever sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind,” said Khatibzadeh. He spoke for over an hour after Iran’s outgoing President acknowledged that his government at times “did not tell part of the truth” to the public during his term.