According to a U.S. Navy explosives expert, investigators have retrieved a hand print and fingerprints from the mines used to attack two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last Thursday, and the mines used in the attack “bear a striking resemblance” to those used by Iran.
Last week, the Kokuka Courageous and the Norwegian-owned Front Altair tankers were attacked. Commander Sean Kido, speaking at a 5th Fleet base near Fujairah, stated, “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.” The U.S. Navy displayed pieces of debris and a magnet which they believe came from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
According to Stars and Stripes, “They also showed a magnet they described as being left behind by the Revolutionary Guard, one of six apparently sticking the unexploded limpet mine to the ship’s hull. Sailors said it took two of them and a crowbar to pry it off the ship … They showed a picture previously shared among weapons experts of a limpet mine on display in Iran, which they said resembled the one they suspected was used on the ship. That picture showed a conical mine, some 42 kilograms (90 pounds) in weight, on display with a sign next to it identifying it as being produced by a research company affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard.”
Kido added, “The limpet mine that was used does bear a striking resemblance to that which has been publicly displayed in Iranian military parades. There are distinguishing features.” Speaking of the hand print and fingerprints, he said, ‘We recovered biometric information … which can be used to build a criminal case to hold the individuals responsible accountable.”
NBC News reported:
This assessment contradicts a statement by the Japanese owner of one of the tankers, who previously said it was struck by a flying projectile. “What I can tell you is the damage that we examined is not consistent with an external flying object hitting the ship,” Kido said.
The United States has accused Iran of responsibility for the May 12 attack on four oil tankers, which are believed to be from limpet mines.
The Daily Mail offered a timeline of current events; on May 5, the United States announced that a “credible threat” from Iran was prompting the U.S. to send the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier group and a bomber task force to the Middle East; on May 8, Iran threatened to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels if the Iran nuclear deal were not renegotiated; on May 12, two Saudi oil tankers and two other ships were attacked off the coast of Fujairah; on May 14, Yemen’s pro-Iranian Huthi rebels attacked and shut down an important Saudi oil pipeline; on May 17, the U.S. ordered all non-emergency diplomats to leave Iraq because of a threat from Iranian-linked Iraqi militias, and on June 13, the two tankers were hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman.