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Brit special forces plan ‘kill or capture manhunt mission’ on Iran-backed terrorists behind oil tanker attack

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Brit special forces plan ‘kill or capture manhunt mission’ on Iran-backed terrorists behind oil tanker attack
Brit special forces plan ‘kill or capture manhunt mission’ on Iran-backed terrorists behind oil tanker attack

 

BRITISH special forces are planning a ‘kill or capture’ manhunt mission on the Iran-backed terrorists who attacked an Israeli-operated tanker.

The drone strike on the MV Mercer Street killed a British security guard and a Romanian soldier, leaving the UK and its allies mulling retaliation.

The Mercer Street tanker that was attacked off Oman
The Mercer Street tanker that was attacked off OmanCredit: AP
A huge hole in the deck of what is believed to be the Mercer Street tanker
A huge hole in the deck of what is believed to be the Mercer Street tanker

The “outrageous” and “deliberate” attack on the vessel, which is linked to an Israeli billionaire, occurred off Oman in the Arabian Sea.

Boris Johnson last night said he was working with the US and Israel on how to respond.

And the British government is now said to be preparing for a military strike against Tehran’s Middle East militia.

A Special Forces team, including SAS specialists and Special Boat Service commandos, flew out to join the stricken tanker and take charge of the investigation.

The ‘kill or capture’ mission could involve several dozen members of Britain’s most elite special forces operators and members of the Paras, The Mirror reports.

Electronic warfare specialists equipped to listen in on communications and a UK forces unmanned aircraft team are also believed to be ready to act.

Government sources previously said a “range of options” was being drawn up for retaliation after Thursday’s attack.

‘CALLOUS ATTACK’

A senior defence source said the most likely would be in cyberspace, warning “nobody will see it here but they will be left in no doubt you cannot kill a Brit unchecked”.

A Foreign Office insider added: “A British national was killed and we have to make clear there are certain lines that can’t be crossed.”

A source said they did not believe the unnamed Brit had been deliberately targeted.

But Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused Iran of a “deliberate and callous” drone attack.

He said: “The UK condemns the unlawful and callous attack committed on a merchant vessel off the coast of Oman, which killed a British and a Romanian National.

“Our thoughts are with the friends and family of those killed in the incident.

“We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran.

“The UK is working with our international partners on a concerted response to this unacceptable attack.”

We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran.

Dominic RaabForeign Secretary

The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken later said he was considering “next steps” with the UK, warning that “an appropriate response is forthcoming”.

Iran’s ambassador to the UK was summoned for a dressing down in London, but insiders said the regime’s response was “all smoke and mirrors”.

Middle East minister James Cleverly told the Iranian diplomat that Tehran must “immediately cease actions that risk international peace and security”.

The PM said Iran should “face up to the consequences of what they have done” and called on them to “respect freedoms of navigation”.

Chair of the Commons Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood said the attack “demands a ­proportionate response”.

“For too long the West has allowed Iran’s interference across the Middle East to go unchecked,” he said.

“This latest drone strike on the high seas, which saw a Briton, killed absolutely demands a proportionate response from the UK, in concert with our allies.”

 

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