Kuwaiti paper claims Israel given 'green light' to respond

UK deputy envoy says Israel ‘needs to make own considerations’ over ship attack

Mark Power says Britain has seen clear proof of Iran’s involvement in deadly drone strike on oil tanker that killed 2, including a Briton; UK to send investigative team to region

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

This Jan. 2, 2016 file photo shows the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Mercer Street off Cape Town, South Africa. (Johan Victor via AP)
This Jan. 2, 2016 file photo shows the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Mercer Street off Cape Town, South Africa. (Johan Victor via AP)

The United Kingdom’s deputy ambassador said Monday that Israel “needs to make its own considerations” regarding a possible response to the deadly drone attack on an oil tanker managed by an Israeli-owned company.

The strike last week killed two people on board the Mercer Street, one of them a Briton.

In an interview with the Kan public broadcaster, Mark Power said that “Israel, like many partners in the region, is threatened by this kind of activity. But clearly, each country needs to make its own considerations.”

“At this point, we call on our partners to condemn it, and we’re working with them to decide on an appropriate diplomatic response,” he added.

According to Kan, Power said that the UK had seen what he described as clear proof that Iran was responsible for the attack.

“We came to the conclusion, [that it is] highly likely Iran conducted this attack,” Power reportedly said. “It is a clear targeted attack and a clear violation of international law.”

Deputy UK Ambassador to Israel, Mark Power, speaks in Ramat Gan, June 24 2021. (Screenshot/Twitter)

Power added that the UK would be sending a team to the region to investigate the deadly drone attack.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday that “the intelligence materials proving [Iran’s involvement] exist and we expect the international community to make it clear to Iran that they made a grave mistake. We, in any case, know how to convey this message to Iran in our own ways.”

Later that day, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was “highly likely” that Iran was behind the attack.

Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces chief Aviv Kohavi spoke with his British counterpart Sir Nick Carter on Sunday.

“The two discussed recent events in the region and common challenges faced by both countries,” the Israeli military said in a statement.

Without providing a source, Channel 12 news reported that the two agreed to share intelligence efforts as well as coordinate a response toward Iran, saying such cooperation on the Islamic Republic was unprecedented.

Israel has reportedly received a “green light” from the US and UK to respond against Iran, according to a report by the Kuwaiti Al-Jarida paper cited by the Kan public broadcaster.

The Kuwaiti report, citing anonymous Western intelligence sources, said Israel could target an Iranian port, an Iranian vessel at sea, or more specifically, the ship from which Thursday’s deadly drone attack was launched.

There has been no information from Israeli or American officials regarding the specific source of the attack, ship or otherwise.

Thursday’s attack marked the first-known fatal attack after years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions between Israel and Iran over the tattered nuclear deal.

The Mercer Street is a Japanese-owned tanker flying a Liberian flag and with a foreign crew. Its only ties to Israel are that the ship is managed by London-based Zodiac Maritime, a company owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.

Analysts said the attack bore all the hallmarks of tit-for-tat exchanges in the shadow war between Israel and Iran, in which vessels linked to each nation have been targeted in waters around the Gulf.

The Islamic Republic has denied responsibility for the deadly assault.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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