Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned and Israeli-managed ship, the Mercer Street, was attacked by a drone off the coast of Oman. Israeli officials are insistent that Tehran was responsible. The Mercer's Romanian captain and a British security guard were killed.
The attack blasted a hole through the top of the oil tanker’s bridge, where the captain and crew command the vessel. In recent months, other Israel-linked ships have been targeted. Meanwhile, Israel has been suspected in a series of major attacks against Iran’s nuclear program. One being Iran's largest warship, The Kharg, recently sinking under mysterious circumstances in the Gulf of Oman.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the country’s military is ready to take action against Iran, calling it “a global and regional problem”, and that Israel is ready to engage in a “multi-front” conflict that could include Iran.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh called Israel’s military threat “another brazen violation of international law. We state this clearly: Any foolish act against Iran will be met with a decisive response. Don’t test us.” Hossein Salami, a Major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said “We are ready for any scenario.”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that his government was “working on enlisting the world” in response to the attack but stated, “we also know how to act alone.” Tehran has emphatically rejected the accusations, saying it would “respond decisively” if other countries decide to attack its interests.
The United States and the United Kingdom have also blamed Iran for the attack and pledged to respond. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken have “agreed to work with the United Kingdom, Romania and other international partners to investigate the facts, provide support, and consider the appropriate next steps.”
Meanwhile, Saeed Khatibzadeh said that Israel “must stop such baseless accusations” and called on the US and Britain to provide evidence to support their claims.