Dubai [UAE]: The US Navy on Wednesday said it has collected biometric information including fingerprints from the body of one of two oil tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week.
Displaying the fragments of limpet mines that the US Navy said had been used to attack the Japanese-owned ‘Kokuka Courageous’ tanker, near the UAE port of Fujairah today, Comander Sean Kido from the Naval Forces Central Command said that the devices bore a “striking resemblance” to the Iranian ones, The New York Post reported.
“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,” Kido said.
The Commander also showed small fragments alleged to have been removed from the Japanese-owned ‘Kokuka Courageous’ tanker.
In addition, a magnet purportedly left by a team from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) was also displayed during the media briefing.
The US military had previously released images it said showed the IRGC removing an unexploded limpet mine from the Kokuka Courageous, which was hit by explosions along with the Norwegian-owned Front Altair ship on June 13.
However, Tehran has denied any involvement in the attacks near the Strait of Hormuz — a major route for global oil supplies — but the incidents have sparked fears of a broader confrontation in the Gulf region.
The company that owns the Kokuka Courageous has said the vessel was damaged by two “flying objects.”
Kido said, “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,” adding that nail holes indicated how the mine was attached to the hull.
He also stated that the fingerprints from the hull would help in building a criminal case, apparently in reference to Iran.
The Commander added that Washington is working with regional partners on a “joint and combined investigation,” but declined to name the countries involved.
The attack on the oil tankers came amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran after President Donald Trump announced the deployment of an aircraft carrier and bombers to the Middle East and sent additional troops to the Arabian Gulf region.
On its part, Iran recently has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium and threatened to boost its enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels in an attempt to pressure Europe for new terms to the 2015 nuclear deal.