The United States has concluded that the drone that attacked the Mercer Street vessel off the coast of Oman was made in Iran, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Friday.
“US experts concluded based on the evidence that this UAV was produced in Iran,” CENTCOM said in a press release.
On July 30, the Mercer Street tanker was attacked by a drone equipped with a military-grade explosive, killing two crew members; the master of the ship, a Romanian citizen, and a United Kingdom national who was part of the ship’s security team, the release said.
CENTCOM added that the tanker had been targeted by two unsuccessful drone attacks on July 29.
The United Kingdom and Israel support the United States’ findings in its investigation of the attack, the release said. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that the three countries have been consulting with each other to determine an appropriate response against Iran.
Israel, the United Kingdom, Liberia and Romania in two separate letters to the UN Security Council said they believed Iran was responsible for the attack. Iran, in turn, said it received no proof of its involvement in the attack.
Earlier, the UK Foreign Office said that the Mercer Street oil tanker could have been attacked by Iran, and that London is working with partners to mount a response.
“We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran. UK assessments have concluded that it is highly likely that Iran attacked the MV MERCER STREET in international waters off Oman on 29 July using one or more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), “Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.
“The UK is working with our international partners on a concerted response to this unacceptable attack,” Raab added.
Zodiac Maritime operator said that the Japanese-owned ship was attacked near Oman. The company said that the crew took back control of the ship and the US navy was escorting it.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated there was intelligence indicating that Iran was involved in the attack. Iran has denied having any role in the incident.