US, UK and Israel threaten Iran after lethal drone attack on Israeli-operated ship

A drone attack on an oil tanker in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Oman July 29 killed a Briton and a Romanian. It has provoked a belligerent response from Washington, London and Tel Aviv who have blamed Iran for the attack, heightening tensions between Tehran and the imperialist powers and increasing the likelihood of a military confrontation.

Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett, left, smiles as he speaks to Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid during a special session of the Knesset, whereby Israeli lawmakers elect a new president, at the plenum in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Ronen Zvulun/Pool Photo via AP)

The MV Mercer Street, enroute from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates with no cargo, was carrying a Liberian flag of convenience. Owned by a Japanese company, it is managed by the London-based Zodiac Maritime, in which Eyal Ofer—from a family of Israeli shipping magnates—has a stake.

After a first drone attack, the ship’s Romanian captain and the British chief security officer sounded the alert, went to the command bridge, and were hit by a second drone that killed them both. The attack is apparently the first in a spate of attacks on shipping in or near the Persian Gulf, a vital trade route and a choke point for crude oil exports from the resource-rich region, that has resulted in a loss of life.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was “confident that Iran conducted this attack,” apparently after intelligence sent by Israeli officials linking Tehran to the strike, although he presented no evidence to back up his claim. It was, he said, one in a series of attacks by Iran over many months and that he was not sure it was ‘anything new or augurs anything one way or another for the new government.’

He added that such actions “threaten freedom of navigation through this crucial waterway, international shipping and commerce and the lives of those on the vessels involved.”

He emphasised, ‘We are in very close contact in coordination with the United Kingdom, Israel, Romania, and other countries. And there will be there will be a collective response’ to the attack.

Source link

Sign up for our daily Maritme Cyber Analysis and Threat Intelligence news.