Breaking News
Netanyahu blames Iran for boat attack, says 'striking' back Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Netanyahu blames Iran for boat attack, says 'striking' back

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of a recent attack on an Israeli-owned ship [GETTY]

Date of publication: 1 March, 2021

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran on Monday of a recent attack on an Israeli-owned ship and said Israel was "striking back" the morning after a raid on Syria
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran on Monday of a recent attack on an Israeli-owned ship, noting his country was "striking back" the morning after a raid on Syria.

The latest escalation between the sides came as the international community was trying to salvage the troubled 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

"It is indeed an Iranian act, that's clear," Netanyahu told public broadcaster Kann, referring to the MV Helios Ray, which was last week hit by a blast in the Gulf of Oman leaving two holes in its side.

"As for a reaction, you know my policy," he continued.

"Iran is Israel's greatest enemy, I'm determined to block it, we're striking at it throughout the region," he said.

Netanyahu's remarks came hours after Syrian air defences intercepted what they said were Israeli missiles over Damascus.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the strike hit the area of Sayyida Zeinab south of Damascus, where Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah forces are reported to be present.

There was no immediate report of casualties.

The Israeli army had refused to confirm its involvement in the attack, which came days after the Thursday explosion that hit the Israeli-owned MV Helios Ray, a vehicle carrier travelling from the Saudi port of Dammam to Singapore.

It was not clear what caused the explosion, which punctured the boat's hull but did not cause any casualties among the crew or damage to the engine.

Push for Iran talks

Israel has long accused its long-term adversary Iran of trying to acquire nuclear weapons, a charge always denied by Tehran.

Following the election of US President Joe Biden, Washington, the European parties to the deal - France, Germany and Britain - and Tehran have been trying to salvage the troubled 2015 nuclear accord, which granted Iran international sanctions relief in return for restrictions on its nuclear programme.

The accord has been nearing collapse since former president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions as part of a "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran.

On Sunday, Iran dismissed a European offer for an informal meeting involving the US.

In his Monday remarks, Netanyahu reiterated the Israeli line that it was his country's top priority that "Iran won't have nuclear weapons, with or without an agreement".

"That's what I also told my friend President Biden," the Israeli leader added.

Critics have questioned if Netanyahu, who supported Trump's move to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, would be able to coordinate the Israeli position on the volatile issue with Biden.

Biden entered office declaring that he wants to return to the deal in some form, calling Trump's policy on Iran a failure.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay connected

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More