U.S., Israel to Discuss Next Steps After Tanker Attack Near Oman
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will consider the “appropriate next steps” with international partners following the investigation of the attack on an oil tanker transiting through the Arabian Sea.
“They agreed to work with the United Kingdom, Romania and other international partners to investigate the facts, provide support, and consider the appropriate next steps,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a readout of a call between the two officials.
The U.S. statement stopped short of linking Iran to the attack. Israeli media first reported news of the two officials discussing the attack on Mercer Street, a tanker that was on its way to the United Arab Emirates, and cited Lapid as stressing the need for a stronger international response to Iran.
The oil products tanker, which is owned by an Israeli businessman, came under attack off the coast of Oman. Two crew members -- a Romanian and a U.K. citizen -- died on the 600-foot carrier, marking an escalation in maritime tensions in the Middle East.
The region has seen repeated attacks on Israeli and Iranian ships since February, as both countries blame each other for the incidents and deny responsibility.
U.S. Navy experts believe a drone struck the tanker, the Associated Press reported, citing the American military. Iran hasn’t commented directly, but the state-run Al-Alam television network reported that Mercer Street was targeted in retaliation for a recent Israeli strike on Syria.
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