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Israel says military action is needed to stop further attacks by Iran following tanker drone strike

Israel has warned military action is needed to stop further attacks by Iran following a deadly drone strike on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman.  

Israel Defence Minister Benny Gantz told ambassadors from the UN Security Council countries on Wednesday: 'It is time for diplomatic, economic and even military deeds. Otherwise the attacks will continue. 

'Now is the time for deeds - words are not enough'. 

Iran has denied involvement in the drone strike last week, but Gantz Wednesday claimed the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' UAV Command Saeed Ara Jani was behind the attack.

He said he would provide detailed intelligence on the matter to participating countries. 

The US, UK, and Israel have all vowed to respond the the attack, with Israel saying it reserves the right to act unilaterally.  

Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz warned military action is needed to stop further attacks by Iran following a deadly drone strike on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman

Iran has denied involvement in the drone strike on an oil tanker identified as the Asphalt Princess (pictured) off the coast of Oman last week

Gantz told UNSC ambassadors: 'Ara Jani is the head operator of the IRGC Air Force's UAV system, which struck the Mercer Street'.

He added: 'Jani provides the supplies, training, plans and is responsible for many acts of terror in the region', the Jerusalem Post reported. 

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid urged the international community to take action, describing the attack as an 'international crime'. 

He added it would be 'every man for himself' if the international community failed to react.   

'What is the international community going to do about it?' he asked. 

'Does international law still exist? Does the world have the ability and the will to enforce it? If the answer is yes, the world needs to act now.'  

Israel's Ambassador to the UN and US, Gilad Erdan made similar remarks and called on the UNSC to 'not sit idly by in the face of such violations by Iran'. 

It comes after the British man killed in the drone strike was identified as father and army veteran Adrian Underwood. 

Mr Underwood, who was born in Fiji before moving to the UK, was working as a security officer on board Liberian-flagged tanker Mercer Street when it was attacked off the coast of Oman last week.

Mr Underwood, who served in the British army in the early 2000s, was killed alongside a Romanian man in an attack that both the UK and Romania blame on Iran. 

General Sir Nick Carter, head of armed forces, warned today that Tehran made a 'big mistake' in attacking the tanker as the UK, US, Israel and allies plot a joint response.

Adrian Underwood, a Fijian-born British army veteran, has been identified as the security officer killed when an explosive drone hit an oil tanker off the coast of Oman last week

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he added: 'What we need to be doing, fundamentally, is calling out Iran for its very reckless behaviour.

'We have got to restore deterrence because it is behaviour like that which leads to escalation, and that could very easily lead to miscalculation and that would be very disastrous for all the peoples of the Gulf and the international community.' 

Family and friends of Mr Underwood, who are spread between the UK and Fiji, have begun raising funds for his funeral via a JustGiving page.

Writing on the page, friend Mark Wilson wrote: 'In memory of Adrian Underwood, who sadly died when the ship that he was protecting was attacked. 

'A humble gentleman, funny and loved by so many. 

'Our love, thoughts and blessings go to his wife Kiasia, young son Zac and his family and friends and of course the Fijian brotherhood. God bless Adrian.'

Mr Underwood's family have a history on military service in his native country, the Fiji Sun reported, identifying him as the son-in-law of a Colonel Sakiusa Raivoce.

A close relative of Mr Underwood said the tanker attack is still being investigated and refused to comment further until the probe is complete.

Tehran has denied involvement in Thursday's attack on the ship - which is Japanese-owned but managed by Zodiac Maritime, a firm owned by an Israeli billionaire. 

The Mercer Street, which is linked to an Israeli billionaire, was badly damaged in the late Thursday attack which destroyed part of the bridge (pictured)

Attack on the Liberian-flagged vessel also killed a Romanian national, with both countries joining Britain to blame the blast on Iran

The attack comes amid a shadow war being fought between Iran and its proxy group, and regional rivals Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Attacks have been ongoing since at least 2019, with tankers linked to Saudi and Israel struck by mines and other explosives.

Saudi's largest oil refinery was also blown up in a bold strike using drones and missiles.

An American drone was even shot down by Tehran's forces, bringing the two sides close to all-out conflict.  

In recent months, a number of vessels with links to Israel have been hit with Iran suspected to be behind the attacks.

The Mercer Street was given a US Navy escort following the attack, and has now reached port in the UAE - arriving early on Tuesday. 

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said his government is 'working on enlisting the world' in response to the attack but warned 'we also know how to act alone.'

'The Iranians need to understand that it is impossible to sit peacefully in Tehran and from there ignite the entire Middle East. That is over,' he said.  

The Mercer Street is now docked in the UAE (pictured) having been escorted there by US warships so it can be repaired

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken predicted a 'collective response' to the incident, which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as an 'outrageous attack on commercial shipping'.

Britain summoned the Iranian ambassador and demanded that vessels navigate freely in the oil-rich region.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh, meanwhile, said that Israel 'must stop such baseless accusations' and called on the US and Britain to provide evidence to support their claims.

Iran 'will not hesitate to protect its security and national interests, and will immediately and decisively respond to any possible adventurism,' Khatibzadeh said.

Iran said on Monday it would respond promptly to any threat against its security.

Iran and Israel have exchanged accusations of carrying out attacks on each other's vessels in recent months.

Tensions have increased between Iran and Israel since 2018, when then U.S. President Donald Trump ditched Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.

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