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U.S. Navy: Mine Fragments Point To Iran In Oil Tanker Attacks

Fragments of a limpet mine and a magnet which the U.S. Navy has removed from one of the oil tankers hit in the Gulf of Oman last week bear a striking resemblance to Iranian mines, a U.S. Navy commander said on Wednesday, showing the fragments to reporters at a briefing near the UAE port of Fujairah.

“The limpet mine that was used in the attack is distinguishable and also strikingly bearing a resemblance to Iranian mines that have already been publicly displayed in Iranian military parades,” Reuters quoted Commander Sean Kido, commanding officer of an explosive ordinance dive and salvage task group in the Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), as saying today.

Commander Kido also disputed the account of the Japanese company owner of the Kokuka Courageous tanker that it had been struck by two “flying objects.”

“The damage at the blast hole is consistent with a limpet mine attack, it is not consistent with an external flying object striking the ship,” Commander Kido said.

The U.S Navy is the latest official U.S. government representative to say that Iran was responsible for the attacks on the two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. President Donald Trump also said that Iran was behind the attacks.

On the day after the attacks, CENTCOM said that the U.S. had video proof that Iran was behind the explosions that rocked the two tankers near the world’s most important oil chokepoint, the Strait of Hormuz.

U.S. Central Command spokesman Bill Urban late on Thursday released a video saying the footage showed a patrol boat of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard approaching one of the tankers where it “was observed and recorded removing (an) unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.”

Tehran has denied the allegations, calling them “unfounded”, with one senior government official telling the BBC that Iran had no connection to the explosions.    

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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