US Navy Probe: Iranian Drone Struck Israeli-Linked Tanker

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Investigators have concluded that an Iranian drone was used to bomb an oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire final week, the U.S. Navy stated on Tuesday.

The drone assault on the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Pacific Zircon final Tuesday off the coast of Oman seems to be a part of the long-running shadow conflict between Israel and its archenemy Iran that has included the concentrating on of Israeli-linked ships in strategic Mideast waterways.

The Navy stated explosives consultants boarded the ship to evaluate the injury, together with a 30-inch-wide (76-centimeter) gap punched in its aspect, and to gather particles and bomb residue. The proof was taken to a lab on the headquarters of the U.S. Fifth Fleet within the Gulf Arab nation of Bahrain.

Navy investigators concluded that the drone used was an Iranian Shahed-136, the identical form of bomb-carrying drone Iran has equipped to Russia in its conflict on Ukraine. Iranian drones had been utilized by Yemeni rebels to assault Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates earlier this yr, the Navy stated.

“The Iranian assault on a industrial tanker transiting worldwide waters was deliberate, flagrant and harmful, endangering the lives of the ship’s crew and destabilizing maritime safety within the Center East,” stated Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

The Pacific Zircon is operated by Singapore-based Japanese Pacific Delivery, which is an organization finally owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer. Israeli and U.S. officers stated on the time of the assault that they suspected Iran was behind it.

Iran has denied any involvement within the assault, with its mission to the United Nations dismissing the allegations as “false information” in a press release final week. There was no fast remark from Iranian officers on the U.S. probe.

Final yr, a suspected Iranian drone strike hit the Israeli-associated oil tanker Mercer Avenue off Oman, killing two folks onboard. In current months, Iran has lashed out at its perceived enemies overseas amid monthslong nationwide protests calling for the overthrow of its ruling clerics.

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