Netanyahu accuses Iran of attacking Israeli-owned cargo ships

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran on Monday for an explosion aboard an Israeli ship in the Gulf of Oman last week but circumvented a question about whether he planned to retaliate. Tehran immediately denied the allegations.

MV Helios Ray, a vehicle boat ship, was hit between Thursday and Friday morning by an explosion above the waterline that a US official said tore holes in both sides of the hull.

“This was really an operation from Iran. It’s clear,” Netanyahu told Kan radio.

Asked whether Israel would take back, he reiterated previous statements about his determination to prevent Iran from developing nuclear power, adding: “We are hitting it (Iran) across the region.”

A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry rejected the claim in a televised press conference on Monday.

“We strongly reject this accusation (…) that the Persian Gulf is extremely important to Iran,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

Can Radio said that the Netanyahu interview was recorded on Sunday night before Syria accused Israel of carrying out missile attacks around southern Damascus.

Israel did not confirm the implementation of these strikes, but has previously said it would launch close military action against Iranian deployment or handover of weapons in Syria.

( Jowharwith REUTERS)