The UK on Aug. 1 supported Israel’s assertion that the fatal attack on an oil tanker on July 29 off the coast of Oman was carried out by Iran.
The attack on Mercer Street, an oil tanker from London-based and Israeli-owned company Zodiac Maritime, killed a British national and a Romanian national on board, making it the first known fatal attack after years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions with the Islamic regime over its tattered nuclear deal.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Aug. 1 that the UK believes the attack was “deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran.”
“The UK condemns the unlawful and callous attack committed on a merchant vessel off the coast of Oman,” the statement reads.
“UK assessments have concluded that it is highly likely that Iran attacked the MV MERCER STREET in international waters off Oman on 29 July using one or more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.”
Raab demanded that the regime end such attacks and allow vessels to navigate freely in accordance with international law.
He also said the UK is working with its allies on “a concerted response to this unacceptable attack.”
U.S. experts have previously said that they believe the incident was a targeted “drone strike,” and an Israeli security official had accused the Iranian regime of being behind the attack, citing similar attacks in the past.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Aug. 1 said that Israeli intelligence had evidence linking Iran to the attack, without elaborating.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh called the allegation “baseless,” threatening, “Whoever sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind.”
Khatibzadeh spoke around an hour after Iran’s outgoing president acknowledged that his government at times “did not tell part of the truth” to the public during his term.
Iran and Yemen’s Tehran-backed Houthi rebels have in the past employed suicide drones—unmanned aircraft loaded with explosives that detonate on impact with a target.
Al-Alam TV, the Iranian government’s Arabic-language television network, has cited unnamed sources as saying the attack on the ship came in response to a suspected unspecified Israeli attack on Dabaa airport in Syria.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.