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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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In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.
KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.
The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.
Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.
The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".
Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.
In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.
Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.
The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.
Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."
Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.
A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.
The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.