An Arabic-language news service linked to the Iranian regime reported at the weekend that the Islamic Republic was behind last week’s attack on an oil tanker operated by an Israeli-owned company off the coast of Oman.
Two people were killed in the attack on the MT Mercer Street, which Al-Alam called a “response to a recent Israeli attack on Al-Dabaa airport in the Al-Qusayr region in Syria.” Israel regularly launched air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria.
Al-Alam is an Arabic-language news agency owned and operated by the state-owned media corporation Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.
Israeli officials told The New York Times on Saturday that the attack on the oil tanker was carried out with suicide drones that slammed into the ship’s living quarters. An unnamed US official confirmed that assessment.
Israel’s security cabinet met over the weekend to discuss how to respond to this latest provocation.
But given the ship’s tenuous ties to Israel (it is Japanese-owned, flies a Liberian flag, and is operated by a London-based company owned by an Israeli billionaire), Jerusalem hopes for a more international response. The two crew members killed in the attack were British and Romanian nationals, so Foreign Minister Yair Lapid started by talking with his counterparts in those countries.
“Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terrorism, destruction, and instability that are hurting us all,” said Lapid after speaking with Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu.
Lapid reportedly told British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab that a “severe response” to Iran is required.