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Gantz says no evidence found so far that oil spill was deliberate

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Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Friday said that there was currently no evidence to conclude that the oil spill off Israel’s coast that polluted most of the country’s beaches was a deliberate act of “environmental terrorism.”

Speaking to supporters of his Blue and White party, Gantz was asked about Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel’s assertion that Iran deliberately caused the spill of Israel’s coast.

“I can’t completely rule out that it was deliberate, but at this stage, we can’t determine that it was done on purpose,” Gantz said.

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Israeli TV reported Thursday that Israel’s security establishment is investigating the alleged Iranian link to the oil spill. Defense Minister Benny Gantz during a visit to the Druze village of Julis in northern Israel, February 23, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)

The network said the Environmental Protection Ministry had handed over its report on the matter to security bodies, which were reviewing its findings. Sources in the defense establishment, however, were quoted as saying there was no indication the spill was deliberate.

The report added that Israel’s intelligence apparatus has now also been recruited to look further into the claim of Iranian sabotage.

A Libyan-owned ship, the Emerald, was smuggling crude oil from Iran to Syria at the time of the spill, the Environmental Protection Ministry said in a statement Thursday,........

© The Times of Israel

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