Israel Reviews Payback Options for Latest Iranian Attack

Defense officials call for emergency meeting after another ship hit by missile in Gulf; Israel is certain that Iran carried out the latest attack, TV report says.

Will Israel retaliate for latest Iranian attack? (Archive: jcamilobernal/iStock)

Israel is reviewing retaliation options against Iran after the latest attack on an Israeli-owned ship. Security officials are calling for an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gantz, Channel 13 reported.

Israel will decide on the proper response after a full damage assessment, defense sources told Saudi website Elaph. The IDF placed the Navy on high alert, including the submarine fleet, Al-Arabiya reported, but there was no official confirmation of this from Jerusalem.

Tuesday’s assault was the third in recent weeks and is seen as revenge for an earlier Israeli assault on an Iranian spy ship.

An unnamed defense source told the New York Times that Israel does not intend to retaliate by attacking another Iranian ship, in an effort to reduce tensions. It was unclear if this was a final decision or whether Israel will respond elsewhere. Previously, Mossad called for strong retaliation to attacks on ships while the IDF favored a softer response.

Ship hit by missile

The Israeli-owned vessel was sailing near the United Arab Emirates when it was hit by a missile fired from a drone or from shore. Initial reports said that there was minor damage and no injuries. As far as is known, there were no Israelis on the freighter, which was transporting cars.

The cargo ship is owned by Israeli businessman Rami Ungar, who is a close associate of Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen. A previous Iranian attack also targeted a freighter owned by Ungar.

Defense officials received information about the latest attack on Tuesday morning, Kan News said, but media reports only surfaced by the afternoon. Israel has no doubt that Iran carried out the strike, the report said.

As tensions with Iran mount, security sources told Maariv daily that Israel prepares for an Iranian response such as a missile or drone strike, but that this would be an extreme scenario. Earlier, defense analyst Yoav Limor estimated that a revenge by Iran’s proxies in Syria was the most likely possibility.

However, the sources told Maariv that the latest escalation is not expected to spiral out of control and lead to an all-out war.