Israeli Intelligence, Military Reportedly Blindsided by Ministry Claim of Iranian Link to Oil Spill

Middle East

On Wednesday, Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel alleged that February’s oil spill disaster was an act of “environmental terrorism” carried out by a Libyan “pirate ship” sailing out of Iran.

Israel’s security bloc, including the Army, Navy, and intelligence services, were caught off guard by the claims made by the country’s environment minister about Iran’s alleged responsibility for the mystery appearance of hundreds of tonnes of oil tar on Israel’s Mediterranean Sea coastline, Israeli media reported.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, Gila Gamliel said that authorities had identified the Emerald, a Libyan-owned, Panamanian-flagged tanker, which was said to have turned off its radio transponder after sailing into Israel’s exclusive economic zone, proceeding to pollute Israeli waters on 1 and 2 February before heading north toward Syria, loitering there a while and then making the trip back to Iran.

Gamliel said her ministry had strong “circumstantial evidence” that the Emerald was the ship responsible for the spill, ruling out the possibility that any other vessel could be to blame. The official admitted, however, that her ministry has yet to obtain the necessary “forensic evidence” to back up the allegations.

On Wednesday night, Channel 13 reported that the country’s defence establishment “does not share [the] assessment” presented by Gamliel, and described it as…

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