Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday blamed Iran for an explosion on board an Israeli-owned cargo ship as it traveled in the Gulf of Oman last week. “This was indeed an operation by Iran. That is clear,” Netanyahu told the Kan public broadcaster. When asked if Israel would retaliate, Netanyahu answered: “You know my policy. Iran is Israel’s biggest enemy. I am determined to fend it off. We are striking at it all over the region.”
A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry denied Netanyahu’s accusation and told Kan in an interview later Monday morning that “Netanyahu is suffering from a mental illness.” He also told reporters: “The security of the Persian Gulf is extremely important for Iran and we will not allow them to spread fear in the region by such accusations.”
The MV Helios Ray was hit on Thursday night by an attack that left a hole on each side of the ship. It returned to the port in the United Arab Emirates for repairs. The ship, which flies a Bahaman flag, is owned by an Israeli company. The fact that the ship was so close to Iran at the time of the attack is part of what has led to the assessment that it was hit by rockets fired from Iran, according to reports.