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August 4, 2021 12:33 pm

Israel Reveals Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Said Behind Deadly Drone Attack on Ship

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the August 4, 2021 briefing. Photo: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Israeli officials have charged the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s drone command, Saeed Ara Jani, with perpetrating the deadly drone attack on the Israeli-managed Mercer Street vessel that resulted in the deaths of two civilians.

“Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Commander of the IRGC’s Air Force, is behind dozens of terror attacks in the region employing UAVs and missiles,” said Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday. “For the first time ever, I will also expose the man who is directly responsible for the launch of suicide UAVs — his name is Saeed Ara Jani and he is the Head of the IRGC’s UAV Command.”

“The UAV command conducted the attack on Mercer Street. Saeed Ara Jani plans and provides the training and equipment to conduct terror attacks in the region,” he continued.

At a briefing with the ambassadors of the UN Security Council member nations, Gantz and Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid accused Iran of being responsible for dozens of terror attacks across the Middle East, while controlling its proxies in Yemen, Iraq and additional countries.

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“Iran has once again proven to be a global challenge, a regional challenge and also a challenge to the State of Israel,” Gantz added. “Iran has violated all of the guidelines set in the JCPOA and is only around ten weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon. Now is the time for deeds — words are not enough. It is time for diplomatic, economic and even military deeds — otherwise the attacks will continue.”

The intelligence disclosure came as new details emerged about Iran’s involvement in a separate incident on Tuesday, in which the Panama-flagged Asphalt Princess was hijacked by “armed Iranians” in the Arabian Sea.

“This is not a conflict between armies in Syria. This is not a covert operation against a military facility. This is an attack on the world’s trade routes, this is an attack on freedom of movement. This is an international crime,” Lapid said Wednesday, addressing the ambassadors present.  “So my question to you is: what is the international community going to do about it? Is there still such a thing as international law? And does the world have the ability and willpower to enforce it the law?”

“If the answer is ‘yes’, the world should act now,” he continued. “If the international community does not respond in this attack, then there is no such thing as an international community. Instead, it will be, ‘every man for himself.’”

Gantz and Lapid said that during the past week, Israel mobilized all possible diplomatic and security channels, calling upon the international community to set clear boundaries for Iran and to cease its aggressive conduct. Action may be taken through the UN Security Council or any other international framework that will hold Iran accountable for its deeds, they suggested.

Meanwhile, Israel will maintain the right to act independently in the face of any attack or threat to its citizens and sovereignty, Gantz and Lapid told ambassadors of the UNSC member countries.

“The Iranian people are not our enemy. The Iranian regime is threatening us and sparking a regional arms race,” Gantz emphasized.

Gantz and Lapid said that going forward, Israel will share with its international counterparts intelligence and concrete evidence related to recent attacks.

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