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Israel blames Iran for tanker attack

Iranian tankers on 24 January 2021 [Indonesian coast guard/Anadolu Agency
Iranian tankers on 24 January 2021 [Indonesian coast guard/Anadolu Agency

Israeli officials have blamed Iran for the attack on a tanker owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer, Israeli media and AP reported on Friday.

The Times of Israel also reported that the US shares Israel's belief that Iran is allegedly responsible for the attack on the ship, which took place off Omani coasts on Thursday.

However, Ynet News reported Zodiac Maritime, the London-based company belonging to Ofer, describing the incident as "suspected piracy".

READ: 2 killed in attack on Israel owned ship near Oman

Two crewmen, a British and Romanian national, were killed in the attack. The Briton was a security guard, while the Romanian crewmember was the captain of the ship.

"Our primary concern remains the safety and well-being of everyone on board and all those affected by the situation. Details of the incident are still being established, and an investigation into the incident is currently underway," Zodiac Maritime announced in a statement.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an Israeli security official told AP that Israel believes Iran was behind the attack on the ship, citing similar attacks in the past.

"This is an Iranian terror attack that killed two innocent men, harming international shipping," the official asserted.

Meanwhile, AP reported an unnamed US official stating that it was likely a "suicide drone" used to carry out the attack.

READ: Israel-UAE oil deal cancellation could lead to severing ties

As reported by Ynet News, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid affirmed that he told his British counterpart that this incident requires a "tough" response.

"Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terrorism, destruction and instability that harms us all. The world must not be silent in the face of Iranian terrorism that also harms freedom of shipping," Lapid declared in his statement.

Ynet News also reported US and European sources blaming Iran for the attack, but pointed out that the US said that it is seeking conclusive evidence on Iran's involvement.

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