Israel and Iran signal danger of confrontation

Two civilian sailors were killed on Thursday when explosive drones hit their ship

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Monday night that “Iran poses an immediate danger” because of its build-up of increasingly sophisticated drones and missiles, and that Israel must “act now” to deal with them.

Mr Gantz was addressing Israel's Parliament, the Knesset, and his remarks came as Iran said that it would respond with force to any Israeli action against its interests.

The US, Israel and the UK blamed Tehran for an attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off the coast of Oman on Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the attack was "piracy" and that Israel possessed intelligence linking the attack to Iran. No official reports have been made publicly available.

The attack on the Mercer Street oil tanker was “a clear violation of international law…and it constitutes an escalation", Mr Gantz said on Monday.

Tehran has denied involvement in the attack in which two crew members – a Briton and a Romanian − were killed.

“Iran has no hesitation in protecting its security and national interests and will respond promptly and strongly to any possible adventure,” Iranian state television quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying.

Updated: August 2nd 2021, 5:04 PM