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Will Israel retaliate against alleged Iranian strike? Netanyahu doesn’t answer

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said that there was no doubt that Iran was involved in a blast that occurred on an Israeli ship in the Gulf of Oman. However, he side-stepped a question on whether Israel will retaliate or not.

The MV Helios Ray, a vehicle-carrier ship, was hit between Thursday and Friday morning by a blast above the water line that a U.S official said ripped holes in both sides of its hull.

“This was indeed an operation by Iran. That is clear,” Netanyahu told Kan radio.

Asked if Israel would retaliate, he repeated previous statements about his determination to prevent Iran from developing nuclear capacity and added: “We are striking at it (Iran) all over the region.”

Tehran has not commented on the incident nor responded to earlier Israeli accusations that it might have been involved.

Kan said the Netanyahu interview was pre-recorded on Sunday night, before Syria accused Israel of carrying out missile strikes around southern Damascus.

Israel did not confirm carrying out those strikes, but has previously said it was launching frequent military actions against Iranian deployment or arms handovers within Syria.

Some protesters called on Monday for destruction of surveillance cameras used by authorities, and shared pepper spray recipes on social media.

Others made metal shields for those on the front lines, who took on police and soldiers in full battle gear. Some of the security forces belonged to units notorious for tough crackdowns on ethnic rebel groups.

Along one road in Yangon, demonstrators taped to the ground hundreds of pictures of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, bearing the words “shame on you, dictator, we will never forgive you”.

A committee representing lawmakers who won seats in the November election said at least 26 people were killed in the violence on Sunday, which Reuters was unable to verify.

“The excessive use of force and other violations committed by the military junta are being recorded and they will be held accountable,” it said.

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