Iran ramps up hostilities against Israel while the Israeli army warns: "Iran will bear the consequences"

The Israel Defense Forces claim it is ready to respond to any "further Iranian aggression."

This Saturday, Iran hijacked a container ship that, it claims, had "links" to Israel. This was first announced by the official Iranian agency IRNA, which detailed that special forces boarded the MCS Aries from a helicopter when it was near the Strait of Hormuz. The vessel had been redirected towards Iranian waters.

IRNA posted a video of the operation, which was later shared on social media. AP also shared the recording and although it acknowledged that it could not verify its authenticity, it claimed that the helicopter appears to be the one used by Tehran's forces and that it had been used on previous occasions, according to The Times of Israel.

According to Iranian sources, the Portuguese-flagged ship is operated by the Zodiac company, owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer. This is not the first time that the company has been the target of kidnapping attempts in the area since the war in Gaza began.

Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz accused the Iranian "criminal regime" of having carried out "a pirate operation in violation of international law." He called on the "free world" to sanction Iran and declare its Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group.

Israel warns: Tehran "will bear the consequences"

Before the seizure of MCS Aries, Israel Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari had warned Iran that if it followed through on its threats, it would suffer the consequences of escalating the conflict.

Hagari also accused Tehran of being "the world's biggest state sponsor of terror," saying that it "funds, trains and arms" groups such as Hamas, which started the war with the massacre on October 7. He also accused the different terrorist groups that became involved in the conflict, such as Hezbollah and the Houthis.

He also said, as senior Israeli officials have been doing since the beginning of the month, that the Jewish State is on "high alert" and that it is prepared to protect itself and react in response to any "further Iranian aggression."

Various reports claim that the United States is also increasing its presence in the area. Three U.S. officials told NBC that the Army was "moving around assets" in the Middle East, while one official told Fox News that "additional assets" had been sent to deter Iran and protect U.S. forces there.

Reuters reporter Steve Holland posted on X that President Biden is cutting his stay in Delaware short and returning to Washington D.C. this Saturday, where he will consult with his National Security team about events in the region. On Friday, the president said he expected the Iranian attack to occur "sooner than later." Intelligence sources told the Wall Street Journal that the attack could occur as early as this Saturday. Biden also told Iran: "Don't do it."

The United States and Israel have been on high alert for weeks after an airstrike against a building adjacent to their embassy in Damascus, Syria. Iran blames Israel for the attack.