U.S. Navy says mine fragments suggest Iran behind Gulf tanker attack
The US Navy Wednesday said that they have recovered limpet mine fragments from one of two tanker ships that are believed to have been attacked near the Strait of Hormuz last week bore a “striking resemblance” to mines seen during Iranian military parades.
“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,” said Sean Kido, commanding officer of an explosive ordnance dive and salvage task group in the US Naval Forces Central Command.
The officer however did not outrightly blame
Tehran for the suspected attacks.
The Japanese company that owns the Kokuka Courageous had said its ship was damaged by two “flying objects”, but NAVCENT dismissed this account.
“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,” Kido said, adding that nail holes visible in the hull indicated how the mine was attached to the ship’s hull.
Kido also said NAVCENT had collected biometric information including fingerprints from the ship’s hull that would help in crafting a criminal case against the assailants.
Iran has repeatedly denied any involvement in the June 13 suspected attacks, as well as in a similar attack on May 12 off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
France and Germany said on Wednesday they would crank up efforts to halt any spiral towards conflict with Iran, but that time was running out and the risk of war could not be ruled out.
“We want to unify our efforts so that there is a de-escalation process that starts… There is still time and we hope all the actors show more calm. There is still time, but only a little time,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters in Paris.