A United States Navy expert on Wednesday said limpet mine fragments and a magnet recovered from one of the two oil tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman on June 13 have striking resemblance to Iranian weapons, AP reported. The United States and Saudi Arabia have blamed Iran for the attack. Tehran has refuted the allegations.
The two tankers – Japanese Kokuka Courageous and the Norwegian Front Altair – carrying inflammable materials had caught fire in the suspected attacks. The incident drove up oil prices and stoked fears of a new confrontation between Iran and the United States. In May, Washington had accused Tehran of orchestrating a similar attack in which four tankers in the same area were damaged.
“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, as saying.
Kido added that the mines were placed above the water line but their placement made it “not appear that the intention was to sink the vessel”. Officials also recovered a handprint and fingerprints that Kido said can be used to build a criminal case against those responsible for the attack.
The United States military had earlier released a video, which according to them showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps removing an unexploded limpet mine from Kokuka Courageous. The incident triggered a heated exchange between Iran and the United States.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on June 14 called for an independent inquiry into the attacks. The world body chief also said he was willing to mediate between the two countries if both the parties agreed.
However, the day before, United States President Donald Trump had declared that the attacks had “Iran written all over it”. Iran has repeatedly warned it might block the Hormuz Strait in retaliation.