TEL AVIV – Israeli intelligence has joined the U.S.’s accusations that Iran carried out Thursday’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, an Israeli TV report claimed over the weekend, citing senior intelligence officials.
The Iranians used mines and a torpedo in the attack, the Channel 13 report said.
Limpet mines were spotted on one of the ships, leading the U.S. to conclude that Iran was behind the attack. The U.S. military released footage apparently showing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing one of the unexploded mines. A U.S. official also told CNN that Iranian forces in the Gulf of Oman spotted a U.S. drone hours before the attack and fired a surface-to-air missile at it.
President Donald Trump on Friday called Iran “a nation of terror.” He said the attack had “Iran written all over it” and the Islamic Republic “did do it.”
“You know they did it because you saw the boat,” Trump said. “I guess one of the mines didn’t explode and it’s probably got essentially Iran written all over it.”
“You saw the boat at night, successfully trying to take the mine off — and that was exposed,” he said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that the “unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran.”
The UK also said it had concluded that Iran was responsible for the attacks.
“Our own assessment leads us to conclude that responsibility for the attacks almost certainly lies with Iran. These latest attacks build on a pattern of destabilizing Iranian behavior and pose a serious danger to the region,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Friday.
In response, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador for a dressing down.
Iran denies any involvement and has accused the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia of engaging in a plot to “sabotage diplomacy.”
“The US economic war and terrorism against the Iranian people as well as its massive military presence in the region have been and continue to be the main sources of insecurity and instability in the wider Persian Gulf region and the most significant threat to its peace and security,” a statement via Iran’s mission to the UN said.