The two spoke of “joint activities against Iranian terrorism and the formulation of a substantial and effective international response,” Lapid tweeted.
The conversation took place as Channel 12 reported that Israel had provided the US and UK with intelligence showing that Iran was responsible for the attack on the tanker MT Mercer Street, with the aim of intensify international pressure on Tehran.
Israel seeks to argue to the international community that Iran not only harms Jerusalem’s interests, but has become a threat to global shipping in general with the attack that killed a British and Romanian national, the network reported. .
Lapid also spoke with his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu and spoke with his British counterpart Dominic Raab.
Aurescu said in a statement that he thanked Lapid “for his sincere condolences to the Romanian citizen killed in the violent incident involving the Mercer Street ship”. He expressed the hope that an investigation “will quickly establish the origin and nature of the tragic event”.
Apart from Israel, no other country has so far blamed Iran for the attack on the ship. According to Walla News, Jerusalem has been disappointed by the so far vague statements by the international community and is seeking stronger condemnations, specifically citing Iran. The report says the US and UK are still studying the information to determine who was behind the strike.
Israel is also calling for an international investigation into the attack and for the United Nations Security Council to meet on the matter, unnamed officials told the site.
Lapid said on Friday that “Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terrorism, destruction and instability that hurt us all.”
The Mercer Street is a Japanese oil tanker flying the Liberian flag and with a foreign crew. Its only ties to Israel are that the ship is run by London-based Zodiac Maritime, a company owned by an Israeli billionaire.
The ship was struck in the northern Indian Ocean on Thursday, killing both crewmembers in what US and Israeli officials called a drone-type attack.
An official Israeli government source said on Friday evening, on condition of anonymity, that “Iran is sowing violence and destruction in every corner of the region. They were so eager to attack an Israeli target that they meddled and incriminated themselves in the murder of foreign citizens.
The source said that with the swearing-in of a new hard-core Iranian president, “the masks are coming off and no one can claim that they don’t know the character of the Iranian regime.”
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks during a briefing at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, July 25, 2021 (Lazar Berman / Times of Israel)
“Iran is not just Israel’s problem, it is a global problem, and its behavior endangers free global delivery and trade. Our campaign against them will continue, ”the official said.
As talks with the US and UK continued on Saturday, the Israeli defense establishment is said to have met to discuss a possible military response.
At the weekend meeting, involving Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, various retaliatory plans against Iran and Iranian targets in the region have been prepared, according to Channel 12.
“We will choose how and when to respond,” an official told the network.
An unnamed official familiar with the investigation told CNN that the crew reported hearing sounds of drones in the area, following explosions and eruptions in the water.
An Israeli official quoted in Hebrew-language TV reports said the Romanian victim was the captain and the British man was a security guard. The CNN report said the two remained on deck to pilot the ship amid the attack.
The source added to CNN that the crew also reported an unsuccessful drone attack earlier today and said the plane fell into the water.
The British Army’s UK Maritime Trade Operations said on Friday it was investigating a separate unexplained incident in the same area, but did not elaborate.
The Mercer Street, an oil tanker, was traveling from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates without any cargo on board when it was struck, Zodiac Maritime said.
A statement from the U.S. Army Central Command said on Friday its naval forces responded to a distress call after the attack. “US Navy personnel are on Mercer Street helping the ship’s crew,” he said.
“US Navy explosives experts are on board to ensure there is no further danger to the crew and are ready to support an investigation into the attack,” he added. .
On Friday afternoon, Zodiac Maritime said the ship was “sailing under the control of its crew” to a place of safety under the protection of a US naval escort.
The US military also said early indications “clearly indicated” a drone strike on Mercer Street.
Iranian Arabic-language public broadcaster Al-Alam, citing “informed regional sources,” said the attack was a “response to a recent Israeli attack” targeting an airport in central Syria, where Iran supports the regime.
In recent months, Israel and Iran have accused each other of attacking a number of merchant ships, damaging them with explosives. In each case, the ships were only slightly damaged and there were no injuries in the incidents.
On February 26, an explosion hit the MV Helios Ray, an Israeli freighter flying the flag of the Bahamas, in the Gulf of Oman. The then prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accused Iran of attacking the ship. Iran quickly denied the accusation, but experts say the attack bears the hallmarks of previous attacks attributed to Tehran.
Another Israeli-owned ship reportedly came under missile fire in the Gulf of Oman in late March, possibly by Iranian forces.
The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Israel had targeted at least 12 ships bound for Syria, most carrying Iranian oil, along with mines and other weapons.