Israeli defense and diplomatic officials held consultations over the weekend after the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Mercer Street, a Japanese-owned ship operated by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer's Zodiac Maritime, was attacked on Friday night.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with the IDF Chief of Staff, Lieut. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, stressing the need for an appropriate response, while Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with his British counterpart Dominic Raab about "the need to respond severely". The British government and Zodiac Maritime issued statements in which they expressed condolences over the death of the oil tanker's British security officer.
Britain's The Times and AP reported that the attack occurred while the tanker, which was empty of cargo, was on its way from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to the port of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. The strike hit the top of the bridge where the captain and other senior members of the crew operate the ship. According to assessments, the attack was carried out using a drone about 300km west of Muscat, the capital of Oman. The attack blasted a large hole in the top of the bridge.
The U.S. 5th Fleet announced that its ships answered a mayday call from the tanker. Explosives and munitions experts from the U.S. Navy boarded the ship, and after conducting an inspection, announced that no explosive materials were found on the tanker, there was no danger to the crew, and that clear signs of an attack by an unmanned aircraft had been found.
Following the attack, as it headed towards a safe port, the ship was escorted by the American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, ships from the strike group of the 5th Fleet, and the guided missile destroyer USS Mitscher. The Iranians did not officially comment on the attack, but Iranian TV station Al-Alam reported that the attack was in response to an attack by the IAF last week on an airport in al-Qusayr, Syria, in which two people were killed.