Explosive experts board attacked Israeli-managed tanker to assess damage: US Navy
Explosive experts have boarded the Israeli-managed tanker ship that was attacked off the coast of Oman to assess the damage and risk of another attack, the US Navy Central Command said on Saturday.
Two crew members, a Briton and a Romanian, were killed late on Thursday when a petroleum products tanker managed by Zodiac Maritime came under attack in the Arabian Sea.
A Pentagon official told Al Arabiya on Friday that US Navy personnel responded to a distress call in international waters after the ship was allegedly attacked by Iranian forces with a drone.
The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which was recently dispatched to the region to help protect troops withdrawing from Afghanistan, is currently accompanying the ship, according to the official.
Following the attack, Israel blamed the attack on Iran and its foreign minister Yair Lapid called for a tough response.
“Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terrorism, destruction and instability that harms us all. The world must not be silent in the face of Iranian terrorism that also harms freedom of shipping,” Lapid said in a statement.
“I am in direct contact with the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. I mentioned to him tonight the need to respond severely to the attack on the ship in which a British citizen was killed. In addition, I instructed the embassies in Washington, London and the UN to work with their negotiators in the administration and the relevant delegations at the UN headquarters in New York,” he wrote on Twitter.
Tensions in the region have been on the rise since the former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal with major powers in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.