“Iran was actively involved in this attack,” said a CENTCOM spokesman.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement on Friday that their preliminary investigation found that Iran is behind last week’s suicide drone attack on the Mercer Street.
The Liberian-flagged, Japanese-flagged oil tanker was sailing off through the Gulf of Oman on July 30 when it was attacked by an explosive UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) which killed two crew members, a Briton and Romanian.
The vessel was likely targeted because it is managed by a company belonging to Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.
The CENTCOM statement revealed that the ship had been the target of “two unsuccessful explosive UAV attacks” on July 29, which had been reported to authorities via distress calls.
The surviving crew showed investigators debris that they’d pulled from the water the night of the attempted attacks, which investigators said corroborated the crew’s reports.
The deadly explosion on July 30 was so powerful that it “created an approximately 6-foot diameter hole in the topside of the pilot house and badly damaged the interior,” the statement continued.
After chemical testing, investigators said the explosive was nitrate-based and had been “rigged to cause injury and destruction.”
Recovered debris from the scene, including part of the UAV’s wing and internal components, were sent for analysis at a U.S. naval intelligence base in Manama, Bahrain and a laboratory in the U.S.
“U.S. experts concluded based on the evidence that this UAV was produced in Iran,” CENTCOM said.
The remnants matched previously collected samples of downed Iranian-made UAVs, CENTCOM said, adding that British and Israeli investigators concurred with the Americans’ findings.
In a separate statement, CENTCOM spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said that “based on the vertical fin being identical to those identified on one of the Iranian designed and produced one-way attack ‘kamikaze’ UAV family, that Iran was actively involved in this attack.”
In a joint statement released Friday, the foreign ministers of the G7 States (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S.) condemned Iran for the attack.
“This was a deliberate and targeted attack, and a clear violation of international law,” the statement said. “All available evidence clearly points to Iran. There is no justification for this attack
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh responded in a statement that the G7 condemnation consisted of “baseless accusations.”
Israel is likely the real culprit behind the attack, the spokesman added.
“For experts and those who know the history of this region, it is not a new thing that the Zionist regime would design such conspiracies,” Khatibzadeh said.