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Hardliner Iranian Paper Says Blast On Israeli Ship Is Response To Attacks

As Israeli officials attributed a blast on an Israeli ship in the Sea of Oman to Iran, a hardliner newspaper in Tehran said the explosion was a response to attacks on its proxy militia forces in the region.

Meanwhile, Iran's Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri said sarcastically that "fingers point at Iran when anything happens in the world or the region." Speaking during a provincial visit to northern Iran on Sunday, Jahangiri referred to the blast and said: "An explosion on the Israeli ship is attributed to Iran, so we must be more sensitive to such developments.”

Israeli officials believe that Iranians are responsible for the attack on the vessel, Israel’s Channel 13 reported Saturday. Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said that based on "initial assessments," Iran was behind the attack.

In the meantime, Sunday's edition of Khamenei-funded hardline newspaper Kayhan in Iran acknowledged that the attack on the Israeli ship was Tehran's response to a recent US air strike on Iran's proxy fighters based at the border between Syria and Iraq.

The Kayhan also claimed that a recent drone attack by the Yemeni Houthis on the Saudi capital Riyadh was also part of Iran's response to targeting of its proxy militant groups in the region.

The ship, a vehicle-carrier named MV Helios Ray, owned by an Israeli company sailed to the United Arab Emirates and a team sent from Israel is scheduled to inspect the vessel.

Tensions between Iran and Israel have escalated to a new level following the attack. A former Israeli UN envoy, Danny Dannon has said: "We will not remain silent. Iranians are going to pay a high price for any attack on Israeli interests."

According to reports Israeli officials are slated to discuss on Sunday the attack and how to respond to it. Jerusalem Post reported that the cargo ship owned by the Ray Shipping Company in Tel-Aviv was en route from Saudi Arabia to Singapore when it was attacked Thursday-Friday night.

A US defense official in Washington said the blast left holes above the waterline on both sides of the hull. The cause was not immediately clear and no casualties were reported. The source added that the ship suffered an explosion between Thursday night and Friday morning.

In the meantime, Daryad, a regional marine security company is carrying out an investigation into the possibility of Iranian military forces' involvement in the attack.

According to the security company, while the details about the incident are still unknown, there is a realistic possibility that the incident has been caused by "inappropriate activities" of Iranian military forces.

However, Kayhan's banner headline on its frontpage on Sunday leaves very little doubt about the culprit. The headline reads: “Mischief in Syria and Iraq received a response in Yemen and the Sea of Oman."  

According to the Kayhan, the United States and Israel have increased their attacks against the “axis of resistance” in recent months and therefore the resistance groups targeted an Israeli ship. The daily opined that “With this attack [in Syria], the US Command has exposed itself to revenge attacks”.

Meanwhile, according to a CNBC report, "Some Senate Democrats on Friday criticized President Joe Biden’s decision to launch the airstrike Thursday night in Syria without conferring with all of Congress."

The congressmen further demanded the administration's rationale and legal justification for the attack.

President Joe Biden provided an official explanation of the airstrike on Iranian-backed fighters in eastern Syria, saying he was using his authority to deter attacks on US and allied personnel in Iraq, reported Bloomberg on Saturday.

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