Gantz Says Israel Is Prepared to Strike Iran, 'Hope We Won't Get Dragged Into It'

With tensions running high in the aftermath of the tanker attack off Oman, the defense minister says strikes in Lebanon were 'warning shots'

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Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Jerusalem, on Sunday
Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Jerusalem, on SundayCredit: Reuters/Abir Sultan

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Thursday that Israel is prepared to attack Iran, as tensions run high following an attack on an Israeli-linked tanker off Oman this week, which Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom blamed on Tehran.

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In an interview with Israeli news website Ynet, Gantz added that "Iran is seeking to present Israel with a multi-faceted challenge," saying both Israel and the international community must act to curb Iran's actions.

Israeli strikes on Wednesday and early Thursday in Lebanon, in response to rocket fire by militant groups, were "warning shots," Gantz said. "It's obvious we are capable of doing a lot more, and we hope we won't be dragged into it."

The Israeli Air Force shelled southern Lebanon after a day of tit-for-tat attacks between Israel and armed groups. Israeli defense officials say they believe Iran-aligned Hezbollah was not behind the attack, but was most likely aware of it.

On Wednesday, Gantz and Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid claimed that Iran was behind an attack on an Israeli-linked ship off the coast of Oman, which killed two crew members – a Briton and a Romanian.

A day earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed a "collective response" to the incident. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meanwhile said that Israel "know[s] how to act alone" against Iran.

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