Israel accuses Iran of attacking cargo ship

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of being responsible for an attack on an Israeli-owned ship last week, saying on Monday it was “clear” that it was “indeed an act by Iran.”

An explosion struck the MV Helios Ray cargo ship as it was sailing out of the Middle East to Singapore, The Associated Press reports.

The crew was unharmed though two holes were left on both its port side and starboard side. The ship docked in Dubai for repairs.

“Iran is the greatest enemy of Israel, I am determined to halt it. We are hitting it in the entire region,” Netanyahu said, though the AP notes that the prime minister did not present any corroborating evidence.

Iran “strongly rejected” the accusation levied by Netanyahu, according to the AP.

“Israel knows very well that our response in the field of national security has always been fierce and accurate,”  Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

Khatibzadeh in turn accused Israel of “suspicious actions in the region” that could undermine the 2015 nuclear deal, though he also did not provide evidence.

Iran accused Israel in November of being behind an attack that resulted in top Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, dying. An Iranian security official alleged that Israel had used “electronic devices” to remotely assassinate Fakhrizadeh.

The accusations from Israel come as the Biden administration has said it open to resuming the nuclear deal with Iran.

Iran is negotiating a return to the Iran nuclear deal with Western countries, Russia and China.

It was reported on Monday that Tehran had rejected an offer from the European Union to hold direct nuclear talks with the U.S. Iran reportedly will not come to discussions with the U.S. without the guarantee of some sanctions being lifted, a condition the U.S. government has ruled out.

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