Sunday, 09 May, 2021


Iran might be behind explosion on Israeli-owned ship

The Israeli-owned cargo ship Helios Ray sits docked in port in Dubai United Arab Emirates Feb. 28 2021 The Israeli-owned cargo ship Helios Ray sits docked in port in Dubai United Arab Emirates Feb. 28 2021
Patty Aguilar | 03 March, 2021, 08:48

"That is clear", Netanyahu told Kan radio. "Iran is the biggest enemy of Israel, and we will strike it throughout the region (.)". "We are hitting it in the entire region", Netanyahu said.

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

The MV Helios Ray ship - an Israeli-owned Bahamian-flagged cargo ship - was hit overnight February 25 by a blast above the water line.

While details of the explosion remained unclear, two American defense officials told AP that the ship had sustained two holes on its port side and two holes on its starboard side just above the waterline in the blast.

The ship came to Dubai's port for repairs on Sunday, days after the blast that revived security concerns in Mideast waterways amid heightened tensions with Iran.

It also comes days after Joe Biden ordered airstrikes on Syria to target an Iranian-backed militia, with the United States president warning Tehran that it can not act with impunity.

Iran also has blamed Israel for a recent series of attacks, including a mysterious explosion last summer that destroyed an advanced centrifuge assembly plant at its Natanz nuclear facility and the assasination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top Iranian scientist who founded the Islamic Republic's military nuclear program two decades ago. The explosion that took place between Thursday night and Friday morning on in the Gulf of Oman forced the vessel to head to the nearest port. Tehran has denied the accusations that it was behind the limpet mine attacks.

The Helios Ray had discharged cars at various ports in the Persian Gulf before making its way out of the Middle East toward Singapore.

Emirati officials did not respond to requests for comment on the vessel docking in the country. In a press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Netanyahu was "suffering from an obsession with Iran" and described his charges as "fear-mongering".

Netanyahu's remarks came hours after Syrian air defences intercepted what they said were Israeli missiles over Damascus, in an area where Iranian Revolutionary Guards and their Hezbollah allies are believed to be present.

"As for a reaction - you know my policy", he continued. There was no immediate report of casualties during the attack over Damascus.

Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Washington has blamed Iran for a number of attacks on shipping in strategic Gulf waters, notably on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, in May 2019. Iran has repeatedly vowed to avenge Fakhrizadeh's killing.

Netanyahu then added that Israel has told the United States it will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons, no matter what the terms are of any potential deal.

Friday's incident also follows normalization deals between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain.

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