Bennett Says Israel 'Knows How to Act Alone' Against Iran After Blinken Vowed 'Collective Response' to Ship Attack

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Haaretz
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Naftali Bennett in a briefing with the IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and the Northern Command Chief
Naftali Bennett in a briefing with the IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and the Northern Command Chief Credit: Kobi Gideon
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Haaretz

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned on Tuesday that Israel is capable of acting against Iran on its own, after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised a "collective response" to an Iranian drone attack on a tanker transiting through international waters near Oman last week.

Bennett said that "Iran knows the price that we exact when someone threatens our security."

He added that the government is working to ensure that Israel has international support, "but meanwhile, we also know how to act alone. The Iranians must understand that it's not possible to sit calmly in Tehran and set the whole Middle East on fire. That is over." 

Tug boats attached to Israeli-linked tanker Mercer Street, off the Fujayrah port in the United Arab Emirates, Tuesday.Credit: KARIM SAHIB - AFP

Bennett's comments come after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised a "collective response" to an Iranian drone attack on the Mercer Street, an oil tanker that was transiting in international waters near Oman last week at the time.

"We are in very close contact in coordination with the United Kingdom, Israel, Romania, and other countries. And there will be there will be a collective response," Blinken said at a regular news briefing.

The United States was confident that the attack last Friday was carried out by Iran, Blinken said. However, the secretary of state said that the attack was one in a series of actions taken by Iran over many months, and that he was not sure it was "anything new or augurs anything one way or another for the new government."

"But what it does say is that Iran continues to act with tremendous irresponsibility," Blinken added.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also addressed the attack publicly in remarks earlier this week. “Iran’s belligerence in the region in general, and on the maritime front in particular, is getting worse,” he said. “The recent attack on the Mercer Street, against international law and human morals, is an escalation.”

Iran denied any involvement in the attack, in which two crew members – a Briton and a Romanian – were killed. After the United States, Britain and Israel blamed Iran for the attack, Iran warned of a "strong" response to any move that threatens Tehran's security.

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