Israel is prepared to attack Iran

Israel seeks to protect shipping


Israel is prepared to attack Iran, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, as his country pressed for a response to a deadly drone strike on the Israeli-operated Mercer Street tanker that it attributed to the Islamic Republic.

Asked in an interview broadcast on a local media website whether Israel is prepared to assault Iran, Gantz gave a one-word answer, “Yes.”

Pressed on whether he was seeking military action against Iran now, Gantz replied, “We should not see Iran only as Israel’s problem and exempt the rest of the world.” Pressed further on whether that confrontation should be military, he said, “Yes, yes,” adding, “and Israel has to do its part.”

The defense minister also answered in the affirmative when asked whether Israel’s military is prepared for a multi-front conflict that could include Iran.

The United Nations Security Council will discuss the tanker attack behind closed doors on Friday, according to diplomats who asked not to be identified ahead of the session. The United Kingdom sent a letter to the council this week saying it was “highly likely” the tanker was attacked by Iran, and the United States urged the council to discuss the attack.

Israel has often said it is prepared to take military action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, but Gantz’s comments come at a time of rising tensions in the region over attacks at sea. Israel says it has given its allies “hard evidence” that the Islamic Republic was behind last week’s deadly drone strike off the coast of Oman, and earlier this week the U.K. Navy reported an alleged hijacking of a ship in waters near Iran.

The U.S., U.K. and Israel have said they will respond to the tanker attack. Tehran denies involvement in either incident, which are the latest in a shadow war that has been raging for years over Middle Eastern waterways crucial to oil exports.

The frictions involving Iran have coincided with the inauguration of a new ultra-conservative president, and cloud prospects for talks with world powers on reviving the frayed 2015 nuclear deal opposed by Israel.

Source Bloomberg

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