US blames Iran for tanker attack, prepares for response

Insight Online News

Washington, Aug 2 : The US has blamed Iran for carrying out last week’s deadly drone attack on an oil tanker in the north Arabian Sea, saying “an appropriate response” is forthcoming.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the State Department said: “Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs, a lethal capability it is increasingly employing throughout the region.

“There is no justification for this attack, which follows a pattern of attacks and other belligerent behaviour. These actions threaten freedom of navigation through this crucial waterway, international shipping and commerce, and the lives of those on the vessels involved.

“We are working with our partners to consider our next steps and consulting with governments inside the region and beyond on an appropriate response, which will be forthcoming.”

Zodiac Maritime, a London-based firm owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, said on July 30 that its oil tanker Mercer Street was attacked a day earlier.

The two dead crew members were from Romania and Britain.

Also on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett blamed Iran for the attack, saying his country has intelligence evidence of Tehran’s involvement and expects the international community to exert pressure on the Islamic Republic that “made a serious mistake”.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has dismissed the allegation, saying they were “baseless”.

IANS / AGENCY

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