Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement at the Knesset in Jerusalem. File/Reuters
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran on Monday for a blast aboard an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman last week but sidestepped a question on whether Israel would retaliate.
The MV Helios Ray, a vehicle-carrier ship, was hit between Thursday and Friday morning by a blast above the water line that a US official said ripped holes in both sides of its hull.
“This was indeed an operation by Iran. That is clear,” Netanyahu told Kan radio.
Asked if Israel would retaliate, he repeated previous statements about his determination to prevent Iran from developing nuclear capacity and added: “We are striking at it (Iran) all over the region.”
Tehran has not commented on the incident nor responded to earlier Israeli accusations that it might have been involved.
Kan said the Netanyahu interview was pre-recorded on Sunday night, before Syria accused Israel of carrying out missile strikes around southern Damascus.
Israel did not confirm carrying out those strikes, but has previously said it was launching frequent military actions against Iranian deployment or arms handovers within Syria.
Opinion polls conducted in Israel late last week revealed that former Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition partners will gain 60 seats in the 120 member Knesset, just one short of a majority. The “centrist and leftist parties in the current government are set to secure 56 seats while the parties representing Israel’s Palestinian citizens will receive four seats.
The victory of Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud in the Sunday election raises many questions about Israel, about Palestine, and about Middle East in general. Netanyahu is a complex and controversial Israeli politician who seems to come back time and again and given Israel’s mind-boggling coalition politics he seems to manage
Israel could pay a high price if its longest serving prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, succeeds in forming a new government which includes the extreme right-wing Jewish Power and Religious Zionism Parties. Both have been given ministries which could define Israel in future years.
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