Israel’s “initial assessment” is that Iran was responsible for the explosion that struck an Israeli-owned ship in the Sea of Oman, Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz said on February 27.
The vehicle-carrier ship named MV HELIOS RAY suffered an explosion while she was sealing in the Sea of Oman a day earlier. The attack did not disable the ship or injure its crew, but forced it ashore for repairs.
“Iran is looking to hit Israeli infrastructure and Israeli citizens,” Gantz told the public broadcaster Kan. “The location of the ship in relative close proximity to Iran raises the notion, the assessment, that it is the Iranians … Right now, at an initial assessment level, given the proximity and the context – that is my assessment.”
According to Israel’s Channel 13, Israel assesses the Iranian navy fired two missiles at the Israeli-owned vessel the Sea of Oman. An Israeli team is currently on its way to the United Arab Emirates, where the ship is anchored, to investigate the attack.
Last year, Iran threatened Israel with a fierce response following the assassination of its top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Tehran believes that the Israeli intelligence was behind the hit.
While it is possible that Iran was behind the attack on the MV HELIOS RAY, there is still no solid evidence to back Israel’s initial assessment.
Israel may use the incident to justify a military escalation with Iran. According to recent reports, Tel Aviv is currently in talks with Gulf states to form a military security pact against Tehran.
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