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Owner of tanker attacked in Gulf of Oman blames 'flying objects,' contradicting US claims that Iran planted mines
The owner of one of the two oil tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman said the crew saw "flying objects" just before the ship was hit, seeming to contract a narrative from the U.S. government suggesting mines were involved.
Yutaka Katada, the chief executive of Japanese shipping company Kokuka Sangyo, discussed the incident with reporters in Tokyo on Friday.
He said sailors on the Kokuka Courageous saw the objects above the water, and suggested they could be bullets, The Associated Press reported.
This seems to contradict the account given by the U.S. military, which said it saw what it suspects is an unexploded limpet mine on the side of the ship.
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) released photos of the "likely limpet mine" on the side of the Kokuka Courageous, noticed by the USS Bainbridge, a US warship deployed in the area that came to rescue crew.
In this Powerpoint slide provided by U.S. Central Command damage from an explosion, left, and a likely limpet mine can be seen on the hull of the civilian vessel M/V Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019, as the guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96)(U.S. Navy/U.S. Central Command)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the attacks on the two ships on Thursday, accusing it of trying to drive up global oil prices.
"These were efforts by the Iranians to raise the price of crude oil throughout the world," he said.
He called the attacks an "unacceptable escalation of tension by Iran." Iran has denied any involvement, and accused the U.S. of leading an "Iranophobic campaign" against it.
Pompeo said that the U.S.'s conclusions were "based on the level of expertise for the execution, and recent attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication."
The U.S. military's Central Command also shared a video that it says shows Iranian forces removing an unexploded limpet mine from the ship
The U.S. Central Command on June 13 said the video shows crews from Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps boats removing what looks like an unexploded mine from the side of one of the two attacked oil tankers(U.S. Navy/U.S. Central Command)
Katada, the Japanese executive, called reports of a mine attack "false"on Friday, and said that the ship could not have been attacked by mines or a torpedo as the objects seen by crew were above the water.
The company that chartered the other ship on Thursday, the Front Altair, said it was "suspected of being hit by a torpedo."
Katada also said that the crew saw an Iranian naval ship near the Kokuka Courageous, the AP reported, but did not specify whether this was before or after the attacks.
The Kokuka Courageous was attacked twice, and all 21 crew members evacuated, leaving one "slightly injured."
The Front Altair was also evacuated, with all crew on board safe.
The attacks near the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil route, has left oil prices surging and could result in a showdown between the U.S. and Iranian militaries.
Read more from Business Insider:
- The Navy has found a possible smoking gun as the U.S. blames Iran for the latest tanker attack threatening the global oil market
- Iranian forces allegedly remove naval mine from tanker after US Navy rescues its crew members, US military claims
- The oil tanker attacks could make a U.S.-Iran military showdown inevitable, experts warn
- One of America's oldest bombers just took flight with the Air Force's newest hypersonic weapon for the first time
- 'All roads lead to occupation': Here's what would happen if Trump followed through on threats to send troops to Venezuela
SEE ALSO: Pentagon: We Won't Reveal Proof Iran Is Behind Recent Middle East Attacks, But Have We Ever Been Wrong Before?
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At least one Air Force base is on the lookout for a sinister new threat: angry men who can't get laid.
Personnel at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland were recently treated to a threat brief regarding an "increase in nationwide activity" by self-described "incels," members of an online subculture of "involuntary celibacy" who adopt an ideology of misogyny, mistrust of women, and violence in response to their failed attempts at romantic relationships.
The brief was first made public via a screenshot posted to the popular Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page on Tuesday. An Air Force spokesman confirmed the authenticity of the screenshot to Task & Purpose.
"The screenshot was taken from a Joint Base Andrews Intel brief created following basic threat analysis on an increase in nationwide activity by the group," 11th Wing spokesman Aletha Frost told Task & Purpose in an email.
A Navy installation blasted 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at high volume for 3 days straight, scaring the crap out of its neighbors
From Long Beach to Huntington Beach, residents were greeted Saturday, June 15, at precisely 8 a.m. with "The Star-Spangled Banner." Then 12 hours later, the "Retreat" bugle call bellowed throughout Seal Beach and beyond.
At first, people wondered if the booming sound paid tribute to Flag Day, June 14. Seal Beach neighbors bordering Los Alamitos assumed the music was coming from the nearby Joint Forces Training Base.
But then it happened again Sunday. And Monday. Folks took to the Nextdoor social media app seeking an answer to the mystery.
Key witness says Eddie Gallagher stabbed wounded ISIS fighter in the neck but does not remember specifics
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The main thing to remember about Navy SEAL Chief Craig Miller's testimony on Wednesday is that he didn't seem to remember a lot.
Miller, considered a key witness in the trial of Chief Eddie Gallagher, testified that he saw his former platoon chief stab the wounded ISIS fighter but was unable to recall a number of details surrounding that event. Gallagher is accused of murdering the wounded fighter and separately firing on innocent civilians during a deployment to Mosul, Iraq in 2017. He has pleaded not guilty.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — An enlisted Navy SEAL sniper testified on Wednesday that Chief Eddie Gallagher told his platoon prior to their deployment that if they ever captured a wounded fighter, their medics knew "what to do to nurse them to death."
In early morning testimony, former Special Operator 1st Class Dylan Dille told a packed courtroom that he had heard the phrase during unit training before the men of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon deployed to Mosul, Iraq in 2017.
Navy SEAL under investigation for allegedly manipulating (and hitting on) the widow of the Green Beret he helped kill
A Navy SEAL sentenced to one year in prison for the death of Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar is under investigation for allegedly flirting with Melgar's widow while using a false name and trying to persuade her that he and another SEAL accused of killing her husband were "really good guys," according to the Washington Post.