Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Israeli President Isaac Herzog both issued threats against Iran on Tuesday over the July 30th attack on the tanker Mercer Street, which Tehran denies responsibility for.
“Just as we saw in the maritime attack, which claimed the lives of two foreign nationals, Iran is the greatest threat to global and regional peace,” Gantz said while visiting the Israeli military’s Northern Command. “We call on the international community to take action and stop Iranian aggression. This is the time for joint action.”
During a naval ceremony in the Israeli city of Haifa, Herzog also railed against Iran. “In recent weeks, we have witnessed Iran’s attempt to harm Israeli targets including on the maritime front. This is not just an Israeli matter. The whole world has seen the results of Iran’s aggression against innocent civilians,” he said. “Whoever tries to harm us — anywhere, in theaters near and far, directly or indirectly — will feel our power and might.”
The US has also blamed Iran for the Mercer Street attack and is calling for the world to take action. Speaking to the UN Security Council Monday, Blinken called on other nations to hold Iran “accountable” for the attack, which killed a Romanian and a British citizen.
When denying responsibility for the Mercer Street attack, Iranian officials called out the West for its hypocrisy for never condemning Israel’s aggression against Iran. Israel has a long history of taking action against Iran covertly, including through attacks on Iranian commercial ships, brazen assassinations inside Iran, and dangerous attacks involving explosives on Iranian nuclear facilities.
Both Israeli officials on Tuesday also discussed the recent escalation between Israel and Lebanon. After three rockets were fired into northern Israel last week by an unknown group, Israel responded by pounding southern Lebanon with 92 artillery shells and launching airstrikes.
Hezbollah responded to the Israeli bombardment by firing a barrage of rockets into northern Israel in open areas, likely an effort to avoid casualties. Neither side reported deaths or injuries, but it marked the most significant escalation between the two sides since the 2006 war, and the Israeli officials blamed it partially on Iran.
“Only last weekend, we again saw the activity of Iran and its affiliates on the northern border,” Herzog said. “If anyone in Lebanon thinks they can threaten us — they are making a bitter mistake.”