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Iran made 'big mistake' by targeting oil tanker, says UK's military chief

A picture taken on August 3, 2021 shows the Israeli-linked Japanese-owned tanker MT Mercer Street, off the port of the Gulf Emirate of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. - On July 29, two crew members of the tanker MT Mercer Street, managed by a prominent Israeli businessman's company, were killed in what appears to be a drone attack off Oman, the vessel's London-based operator and the US military say, with Israel blaming Iran. (Photo by Karim SAHIB / AFP) (Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images)
A picture taken on August 3, 2021 shows the Israeli-linked Japanese-owned tanker MT Mercer Street, off the port of the Gulf Emirate of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates [KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images]

The UK's military chief said on Wednesday that Iran made a "big mistake" by "attacking" the Mercer Street oil tanker, killing two people, including a British national, Anadolu Agency reported.

"What we need to be doing fundamentally is calling out Iran for very reckless behavior," Gen. Sir Nick Carter told BBC Radio 4.

"They made a big mistake" with the attack on the Mercer Street vessel last week, he said, adding that it "has very much internationalized the state of play in the Gulf."

"Ultimately, we have got to restore deterrence because it is behavior like that which leads to escalation, and that could very easily lead to miscalculation and that would be very disastrous for all the peoples of the Gulf and the international community," he said.

Two crew members of the oil tanker Mercer Street, owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer's Zodiac Group, were killed in the attack in the Indian Ocean while en route from Tanzania to the United Arab Emirates, the company said on July 30.

READ: Suspected hijackers leave ship off UAE , UK says 

One of the crew members was a British national named Adrian Underwood, who worked as a security guard. He was an army veteran, married, and the father of one child.

The attack ripped a hole through the top of the tanker's bridge, which housed the captain and crew.

The Mercer Street was escorted to a nearby port by the US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher.

In recent months, many attacks on commercial vessels have been reported and linked to ongoing heightened tensions between Israel and Iran.

Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Iran "should face up to the consequences" of its actions.

"I think that Iran should face up to the consequences of what they've done, accept the attribution that the foreign secretary has made, he said, adding that it was clearly an unacceptable and outrageous attack on commercial shipping.

"It is absolutely vital that Iran and every other country respects the freedoms of navigation around the world, and the UK will continue to insist on that."

READ: Israel to give foreign envoys proof of Iran's involvement on ship attack

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