HomeIsrael2 crew members killed in strike on Israeli ship: Jerusalem blames Iran

2 crew members killed in strike on Israeli ship: Jerusalem blames Iran

Two crew members, a British and Romanian citizen, were killed in an attack on an oil tanker owned by an Israeli company off the coast of Oman on Thursday night, the company said.

A spokesman for Israel’s security service said Israel believed Iran was behind the attack on the ship, citing similar attacks in the past.

Analysts said the attack had all the hallmarks of an eye-to-eye exchange in the “shadow war” between Israel and Iran, in which ships were attacked in the waters around the Persian Gulf.

An unnamed US official said that the so-called “suicide drone” was apparently used in the attack. Tehran-backed Hussite rebels from Iran and Yemen have used suicide drones in the past – unmanned aerial vehicles loaded with explosives that explode when they hit a target.

The attack was the most notorious maritime violence among regional shipping attacks since 2019. The United States, Israel and others have blamed Iran for the attacks on Tehran’s failure to deal with world powers.

An unnamed senior Israeli official said the dead man from Romania was apparently a captain and the Briton a security guard.

“This is an Iranian terrorist attack that killed two innocent people, damaging international shipping,” the official said.

Zodiac Maritime is a London-based company owned by Israeli tycoon Eyal Ofer. Earlier this month, a ship bound for the UAE, formerly owned by Ofera, was attacked in the northern Indian Ocean.

The company said that although it operated the Liberia-flagged Mercer Street oil tanker, the vessel was owned by a Japanese man.

On Friday, he added that it is not known about any other injuries, except for two dead crew members.

“Our main concern remains the safety and well-being of all those on board and all those affected by the situation. The details of the incident are still being established, and the investigation into the incident is ongoing, “the company added.

On July 29, 2021, the Israeli company MERCER STREET was attacked near Oman (screenshot MarineTraffic.com)
On July 29, 2021, the Israeli company MERCER STREET was attacked near Oman (screenshot MarineTraffic.com)

It was later said that the ship “went under the direction of its team and its course … to a safe place with a US naval escort.”

A brief preliminary statement made earlier by the British military maritime trade service to the United Kingdom said an investigation into the attack, which they said took place late Thursday night northeast of the Omani island of Masirah, was under way. This place is located more than 300 km southeast of the capital of Oman, Muscat.

“We continue to work closely with the UKMTO and other relevant bodies,” Zodiac Maritime said.

Meir Javedanfar, an expert on Iranian diplomacy and security at Israel’s IDC University in Herzliya, told AFP that the attack was “most likely Iran.”

Javedanfar said Iranians “feel extremely disadvantaged when it comes to responding to Israeli-linked Israeli attacks,” including an April strike on a Natanz uranium enrichment facility that was reportedly executed by Israel.

The attack on the ship is “an area where the Iranians feel they can try to get revenge,” he added.

But he estimated that the fundamental dynamics of the rivalry would change little. “Both sides will continue what they are doing,” he said.

Israeli officials did not immediately acknowledge the incident, but it came amid escalating tensions between Israel and Iran as talks on Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers remain deadlocked.

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