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Jumat, 30 Juli 2021

Two killed in attack on Israeli-managed oil tanker off coast of Oman - ABC News

A Briton and a Romanian have been killed in an attack on an Israeli-managed petroleum product tanker off the coast of Oman, an incident Israel's Foreign Minister is blaming on Iran.

There were varying explanations for what happened to the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned ship on Thursday.

Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime described the incident as "suspected piracy" and a source at the Oman Maritime Security Center as an accident that occurred outside Omani territorial waters.

Iran and Israel have traded accusations of attacking each other's vessels in recent months.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he had told Britain's Foreign Secretary of the need for a tough response to the incident in which the two crew members were killed.

"Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terrorism, destruction and instability that harms us all," Mr Lapid said in a statement.

US and European sources familiar with intelligence reporting said Iran was their leading suspect for the incident, which a US defence official said appeared to have been carried out by a drone, but stressed their governments were seeking conclusive evidence.

Al Alam TV, the Iranian government's Arabic-language television network, cited unnamed sources as saying the attack on the ship came in response to a suspected, unspecified Israeli attack on Dabaa airport in Syria.

There was no immediate official reaction from Iran to the accusation that it may have been responsible.

Tensions rise in the Gulf

Israeli news website Ynet said the assessment in Israel was that there were two attacks on the ship, spaced several hours apart. The first caused no damage but the second hit the bridge, causing the casualties.

It quoted an unnamed Israeli official as saying: "Israel will find it hard to turn a blind eye" to the attack.

The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Mercer Street off Cape Town, South Africa
Israel and Iran have traded accusations of attacking each other's vessels in recent months.(

AP: Johan Victor

)

Tensions have risen in the Gulf region since the United States reimposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 after then-president Donald Trump withdrew Washington from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

The United States regards the possibility of Iran obtaining nuclear arms, an ambition Tehran denies, as a direct threat to its ally Israel.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which provides maritime security information, said the attack was not piracy.

The vessel was about 152 nautical miles (280 km) north-east of the Omani port of Duqm when it was attacked, it said.

London-based Zodiac Maritime, which is controlled by Israeli magnate Eyal Ofer, whose father Sammy was Israel's most famous shipowner, said the ship was sailing under the control of its crew and own power to a safe location with a US naval escort.

According to Refinitiv ship tracking, the medium-size tanker was headed for Fujairah, a bunkering port and oil terminal in the United Arab Emirates, from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

Reuters

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2021-07-31 03:50:03Z
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