Netanyahu Blames Iran for Boat Attack, Says 'Striking' Back

28 2021 shows a view of the Israeli-owned Bahamian-flagged MV Helios Ray cargo ship docked in Dubai's Mina Rashid cruise terminal.- The MV Helios Ray a vehicle carrier was travelling from the Saudi por

28 2021 shows a view of the Israeli-owned Bahamian-flagged MV Helios Ray cargo ship docked in Dubai's Mina Rashid cruise terminal.- The MV Helios Ray a vehicle carrier was travelling from the Saudi por

Over the years, Iran has been linked to attacks on Israeli and Jewish civilian targets in Latin America, Europe and Asia. The US also had attributed a series of other suspected attacks to Iran, including the use of limpet mines - created to be attached magnetically to a ship's hull - to cripple four oil tankers off the nearby Emirati port of Fujairah.

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.

The vessel hit by an explosion on Thursday in Gulf of Oman belongs to Israeli businessman Abraham Ungar who is "close to the head of Mossad [Tel Aviv's secret service]", Yossi Cohen, and Iran may have been behind the explosion, a Friday report by Kan claimed.

Israeli Channel 13 News said defence officials believed the Iranian navy had launched a precision strike to avoid casualties, firing two missiles at a part of the ship that if damaged would not have sunk the vessel.

Emirati officials did not respond to requests for comment on the vessel docking in the country.

"We strongly deny this accusation", Khatibzadeh told reporters, adding that "the source of this accusation itself shows how invalid (the claim) is".

Iran has sought to pressure the U.S.to lift sanctions on Tehran as President Joe Biden's administration considers option for returning to negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. American officials reported that the explosion ripped holes in both sides of its hull. The Iranians are looking to harm Israelis and Israeli infrastructure.

USA lawmakers question legality of Biden's air strikes in Syria
After withdrawing, Trump authorized punishing sanctions on Iran, which has since begun enriching uranium at higher levels. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the USA informed Russia of the strike just minutes before it was carried out.

Ray Shipping confirmed that one of its vessels carrying a "Bahamas flag" was damaged "when an explosion was heard in the Persian Gulf near the Straits of Hormuz". The company said the explosion caused two holes about a meter and a half in diameter. The Helios Ray arrived in Dubai on Sunday for repairs and an inspection, and it remains unclear what caused the blast.

The vehicle-carrier ship is owned by a Tel-Aviv based company called Ray Shipping through a company registered in the Isle of Man, according to a United Nations shipping database. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss unreleased information on the incidents.

Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence firm, said it was very possible the blast stemmed from "asymmetric activity by Iranian military".

In his remarks on Monday, Netanyahu reiterated the Israeli line that it was his country's top priority that "Iran won't have nuclear weapons, with or without an agreement".

The United States blamed Iran for suspected attacks on two oil tankers in 2019.

"Increasingly Iran is also becoming fearful of improving relations between Israel and the Gulf states", it added in reference to recent normalisation deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

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