Israel says 'Iranian commandos' used limpet mines to attack ship in Gulf of Oman

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has not said whether his country will retaliate, but Israeli air strikes have hit Iranian positions in Syria

Initial pictures of the damage to Helios Ray. Courtesy Intel Omarion

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran for a blast aboard an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman last week but sidestepped a question about whether Israel would retaliate.

Israeli Security Cabinet Minister Yoav Gallant, who was a commander in the Israeli Defence Forces, told Israeli news outlet Ynet that "Iranian commandos" carried out the attack using limpet mines.

That was also the assessment of Israeli inspectors who examined the ship in Dubai.

Israel's foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi held a call with Oman's Foreign Minister Badr Al Busaidi on Monday. Mr Askhenazi tweeted about the call writing, "during the call, views were exchanged on a number of issues of common interest, as well the importance of supporting all efforts aimed at achieving peace and stability in the region.

"We agreed to maintain our direct channel of communication and to further enhance cooperation."

Oman has yet to follow its Gulf neighbours in normalizing relations with Israel with Mr Al Busaidi saying just two weeks ago that “we are content so far with the level of our current relations and dialogue, which involves the appropriate channels of communication.”

Oman has also made clear that it wishes to broker a deal between Iran and the United States as well as a deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

On Friday, the MV Helios Ray, a vehicle-carrier ship, was hit 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," Mr Netanyahu told Kan Radio.

Asked if Israel would retaliate, he repeated previous statements about his determination to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

"We are striking at it [Iran] all over the region," he said.

Kan said the interview was recorded on Sunday night, before Syria accused Israel of carrying out missile strikes in southern Damascus.

Israel previously said it was carrying out frequent military operations actions against Iranian groups or arms handovers in Syria.

Initial pictures of the damage to Helios Ray. Courtesy Intel Omarion
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