Middle east

US, UK Reportedly Greenlight Israeli ‘Response’ to Iran Over Mercer Street Tanker Attack

Tehran has denied involvement in an offensive against the oil tanker Mercer Street in the Arabian Sea on Thursday, condemning accusations rolled out by the Israeli government following the attack.

Tel Aviv has reportedly received a “green light” from Washington and London to carry out a “response” to Iran for a Thursday attack against the Mercer Street, an oil tanker, in an incident attributed by all three countries to the Islamic republic, Israel’s Kan reported Sunday.

According to the report, Israeli officials are currently discussing how and when to respond, with possibilities arising that an Iranian port or a military ship could be targeted.

Israel also plans to share additional intelligence with other countries in the region to “bring condemnation” on Iran. It is noted, however, that Tel Aviv believes the deaths of the two sailors in the attack were not intentional.

The Mercer Street, a Japanese-owned Liberian-flagged tanker managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime that was attacked off Oman coast as seen in Cape Town, South Africa, January 2, 2016 in this picture obtained from ship tracker website, MarineTraffic.com. Picture taken January 2, 2016.  Johan Victor/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
JOHAN VICTOR
The Mercer Street, a Japanese-owned Liberian-flagged tanker managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime that was attacked off Oman coast as seen in Cape Town, South Africa, January 2, 2016 in this picture obtained from ship tracker website, MarineTraffic.com. Picture taken January 2, 2016. Johan Victor/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

The Israeli government earlier alleged that they possessed evidence of Iranian involvement in the attack. Tel Aviv has garnered support from the United States and the United Kingdom, with US State Secretary Antony Blinken vowing an “appropriate response”. According to the State Secretary, Iran allegedly used “one-way explosive UAVs” in the attack.

Tehran dismissed claims that it is linked to the Mercer Street incident, and condemned the accusations.

“[Israel] has created insecurity, terror, and violence… these accusations about Iran’s involvement are condemned by Tehran”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Sunday.

The Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged oil-transport tanker vessel operated by the London-based Zodiac Maritime company and reportedly owned by an Israeli billionaire, suffered a blast on Thursday as it was navigating through the Arabian Sea.

The attack claimed the lives of a British security guard and a Romanian crew member.

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