05:55 GMT +316 July 2019
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     A picture of the Kokuka Courageous, one of two that were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman, is displayed during a news conference by the ship owner Kokuka Sangyo Ltd. at the company office in Tokyo, Japan June 13, 2019, in in this photo released by Kyodo

    US Navy Claims to Have Found Mine Fragments, Magnet Pointing to Iran in Oil Tankers Attack

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    Attack on Tankers in Gulf of Oman (61)
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    Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated after an alleged attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman was blamed on Iran by the United States. Tehran vehemently denies the allegations.

    The United States Navy has shown limpet mine shards as well as a magnet extracted from one of the oil tankers allegedly attacked last week, claiming that they bore striking resemblance to Iranian mines.

    According to Cmdr. Sean Kido of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet speaking to reporters at a NAVCENT facility in Fujairah, the UAE, the damage inflicted to the Kokuka Courageous tanker was "not consistent with an external flying object hitting the ship" which contradicted a previous eyewitness testimony earlier revealed by the ship's owner.

    The official added that fingerprints and a hand print have been recovered as a result of the probe conducted by the US Navy.

    The Kokuka Courageous, one of two oil tankers targeted in an apparent attack in the Gulf of Oman
    © AP Photo / Jon Gambrell
    The Kokuka Courageous, one of two oil tankers targeted in an apparent attack in the Gulf of Oman

    The already-tense relations between the United States and Iran took a turn to the worse last week following an apparent sabotage attack against two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. According to some reports, the vessels were subject to a torpedo attack, which caused explosions and fire on at least one vessel. However, there was no official information on the cause of the incident. All crew members of the tankers were evacuated to Iran.

    The US immediately blamed Iran for the attacks to which official Tehran responded by saying that the US made its claims "without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence." The US Central Command then released a video claiming to show Iranian sailors removing an unexploded mine from the hull of one of the tankers as “proof” of Tehran being the culprit.

    ​Iranian-US relations have been extremely strained since May 2018, after the US unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Exactly one year after the US pullout, Iran announced that it would withdraw from some of its voluntary commitments under the agreement.

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    Attack on Tankers in Gulf of Oman (61)

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