U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) released new images Monday showing the aftermath of mine attacks against two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, including some images purporting to show Iranian forces removing an unexploded device from the hull of one of the vessels.
Hours later, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said he had approved a request from CENTCOM to send approximately 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East “to address air, naval, and ground-based threats” in the region.
“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said. “The United States does not seek conflict with Iran. The action today is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests.”
The military says that some of the 11 new images taken from a Navy helicopter show members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy removing a limpet mine from the side of the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous oil tanker. Other photos show a large hole on the side of the Courageous, above the water line, that officials say appears to have been caused by another mine.
In a statement, Central Command reaffirmed the Trump administration’s previous claim that Iran was responsible for the attacks on the Kokuka Courageous and the Front Altair “based on video evidence and the resources and proficiency needed to quickly remove the unexploded limpet mine.” (Read more from “Pentagon Approves Sending 1,000 More Troops to Mideast After Oil Tanker Attack” HERE)