Gulf News

Iran accused of ‘environmen­tal terrorism’

ISRAEL: PIRATE SHIP THAT DEPARTED FROM IRAN RESPONSIBL­E FOR OIL SPILL

- JERUSALEM

Israel yesterday accused Iran of “environmen­tal terrorism” after a devastatin­g oil spill off its Mediterran­ean coast it said was perpetrate­d by a Libyan-flagged ship that set sail from Iran.

“A Libyan-flagged pirate ship that departed from Iran was responsibl­e,” Israel’s environmen­t protection minister Gila Gamliel said on Twitter.

“Iran is waging terrorism by harming the environmen­t,” she said, calling the spill “not just an environmen­tal crime but environmen­tal terrorism.”

Storms last month washed tonnes of sticky tar ashore along Israel’s entire Mediterran­ean coastline, staining 160km of beach from its borders with the Gaza Strip to Lebanon.

Gamliel told reporters that the ship responsibl­e had “entered Israel’s exclusive economic zone and deliberate­ly polluted” the waters.

Rising tensions

The accusation comes after the Jewish state accused Iran of a recent attack late last month on an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf Oman, further raising tensions between the arch foes.

Iran has denied any role in the explosion that hit the MV Helios Ray, leaving two holes in its side but causing no casualties. Israel has declared last month’s oil spill as one of its worst ecological disasters in recent history.

Volunteers have teamed up with authoritie­s to clean the beaches, while officials from the environmen­tal protection ministry launched an investigat­ion into the source of the spill.

Oil also washed up on southern Lebanon, where thick tar balls hit a swathe of coastline which includes some of the country’s best preserved beaches.

 ?? Reuters ?? An Israeli soldier holds a clump of tar cleaned from the sand after an offshore oil spill at a beach in Atlit, Israel.
Reuters An Israeli soldier holds a clump of tar cleaned from the sand after an offshore oil spill at a beach in Atlit, Israel.

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