Over the weekend, an Israeli-operated, Japanese-owned oil tanker, the Mercer Street, was attacked near the coast of Oman. The reports in the global media immediately afterward claimed that a drone hit the ship, and Israel added that the drone was Iranian. The problem is that no proof has been provided. Iran denies involvement.
"The world recently received a reminder of Iranian aggression, this time on the high seas. The Iranians, who attacked the ship 'Mercer Street' with unmanned aerial vehicles, intended to attack an Israeli target. Instead, their act of piracy led to the deaths of a British citizen and a Romanian citizen. From here, I send condolences to Britain and Romania and, of course, to the families of the victims," said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at a Cabinet meeting on Sunday.
"I just heard that Iran, in a cowardly manner, is trying to evade responsibility for the event. They are denying this. Then, I determine, with absolute certainty – Iran carried out the attack against the ship. Iran's thuggishness endangers not only Israel, but also harms global interests, namely freedom of navigation and international trade."
"The intelligence evidence for this exists and we expect the international community will make it clear to the Iranian regime that they have made a serious mistake. In any case, we know how to send a message to Iran in our own way. I would like to thank the people at the Foreign Ministry, especially Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, for their urgent work on this issue throughout the weekend."
But again, no proof was provided, openly, to anyone. Perhaps it was transferred secretly to the U.S. and relevant European countries. But why hide it? If the drone hit the ship, the Americans have forensic proof. Why don't they report that it was a drone? And what type? If it was a type manufactured in Iran, it strengthens Israel's claims. If it is a drone not manufactured in Iran, Israel's claims will be less convincing.
If Israel has proof, why hide it? Is Israel protecting sources? Well, even in a report to the U.S., Israel didn't reveal the sources. If Bennett and Lapid want to internationalize the incident, the best way is to provide clear proof that the Iranians did it.
A statement by the U.S. State Department said that Israel, together with the U.S., Romania and Britain, will investigate the facts surrounding the incident. It means that the facts are still being investigated.