Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday that his government had evidence Iran was responsible for a drone attack Thursday night on an Israeli-operated oil tanker, the Mercer Street, off the coast of Oman that killed two people.
These were the first known fatalities in a series of attacks on commercial shipping in the region linked to Israel’s attempts to stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. “The Iranians who attacked with unmanned aircraft the Mercer Street intended to harm an Israeli target,” Bennett said during Sunday’s Israeli cabinet meeting.
“Instead, their piratical act caused the deaths of a British citizen and a Romanian citizen.” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh responded on Sunday to the Israeli prime minister’s accusation, calling it “baseless.” “It’s not the first time that the Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem has made such empty accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Khatibzadeh said. “Wherever this regime has gone, it has taken instability, terror and violence with it.”