Tue, 20 Apr 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran on Monday for a blast aboard an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman last week but sidestepped a question on whether he planned to retaliate. Tehran promptly rejected the accusation.

The MV Helios Ray, a vehicle-carrier ship, was hit between Thursday and Friday morning by a blast above the water line that a US official said ripped holes in both sides of its hull.

"This was indeed an operation by Iran. That is clear," Netanyahu told Kan radio.

Asked if Israel would retaliate, he repeated previous statements about his determination to prevent Iran from developing nuclear capacity and added: "We are striking at it (Iran) all over the region."

An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman rejected the claim in a televised news conference on Monday.

"We strongly reject this accusation (...) the security of the Persian Gulf is extremely important for Iran," Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

Kan radio said the Netanyahu interview was pre-recorded on Sunday night, before Syria accused Israel of carrying out missile strikes around southern Damascus.

Israel did not confirm carrying out those strikes, but has previously said it was launching frequent military actions against Iranian deployment or arms handovers within Syria.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

Originally published on France24

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