Gantz: Israel did not cause oil spill that damaged country's shoreline

"I'm not saying anything about what we did or didn't do," Gantz said regarding an explosive attack that damaged an Iranian container ship. "We have an obligation to be preemptive on all fronts."

Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz attends a conference of the Israeli Television News Company in Jerusalem on March 7, 2021.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benny Gantz attends a conference of the Israeli Television News Company in Jerusalem on March 7, 2021.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
Israel did not cause the damage to an oil tanker that caused an unprecedented oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea, leading tar to wash ashore along Israel's coastline, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Saturday.
"I can assure you that Israel is not responsible for the oil spill that washed up on Israel's shores," Gantz said in a conversation with Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, outgoing executive director of Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).
On Saturday, The London Times published a report that details how Israeli military forces have been accused of "repeatedly" targeting Iranian oil tankers, the first one leading to an oil spill in October 2019 off the Red Sea, and the latest one being the now-infamous spill in late-February, one that's been repeatedly dubbed an ecological disaster.
Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz in conversation with Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, current executive director of Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), March 13, 2021. (Credit: Courtesy)Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz in conversation with Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, current executive director of Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), March 13, 2021. (Credit: Courtesy)
On Friday, Israeli officials did not comment when asked if Israel was behind an explosive attack that damaged an Iranian container ship, causing a small fire according to Reuters, citing Iranian media. No one on board was injured.
"I'm not saying anything about what we did or didn't do. We have an obligation to be preemptive on all fronts," Gantz said, while insisting that Israel was absolutely not behind the February oil spill. "We have nothing to do with this incident."
In late-February, a ship was damaged by a mysterious explosion, scattering oil into the ocean that has reached Israel's shores, and includes toxic tar chunks. Massive cleanup projects have been initiated all along the coast since the spill.
Israel has largely pointed the finger at Iran for being behind the spill.
In his conversation with Yadlin, Gantz continued to emphasize the Iranian threat to the region "in every category: By land, they are supporting militias in Iraq and Syria – and by air and sea, they are sending weapons to Lebanon."