UPDATE - US Releases Video Showing Alleged Iran's Forces Removing Mine From Tanker In Gulf Of Man

UPDATE - US Releases Video Showing Alleged Iran's Forces Removing Mine From Tanker in Gulf of Man

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 14th June, 2019) The US military has released a video, claiming it shows Iranian forces removing an unexploded limpet mine from a tanker which suffered an explosion in the Gulf of Oman.

The explosions hit Altair and Kokuka Courageous tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

The low-quality footage, released by the US Central Command late on Thursday, showed a group of people in a boat next to some vessel. However, no flags or vessel Names can be clearly seen in the video.

In a statement, released together with the footage, the military says the US forces had received two distress calls from Altair and Kokuka Courageous at 6:12 a.m. (01:42 GMT) and 07:00 a.m. on Thursday. USS Bainbridge destroyer began moving toward the tankers, while US airplanes observed vessels allegedly belonging to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the vicinity of Altair, according to the statement.

The statement claimed that at 09:12 a.m., a US plane saw Iranian fast attack vessels pulling a rat from Altair from the water. After it, the Iranian crew had requested that Altair crew, rescued by the Hyundai Dubai motor vessel, be transferred to the Iranian vessels.

Notably, Iranian media reported on Thursday that Iran had saved 44 sailors in the wake of the tanker blasts, transporting them to its territory.

As for the crew of Kokuka Courageous, it abandoned the tanker after discovering a probable unexplored limpet mine on the hull in the wake of the first blast that hit the vessel, according to the statement.

The sailors were rescued by a Dutch tug boat and subsequently transferred on board USS Bainbridge.

"At 4:10 p.m. local time an IRGC Gashti Class patrol boat approached the M/T Kokuka Courageous and was observed and recorded removing the unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous," the statement read.

Limpet mines are naval explosives attached to vessels by magnets.

While the cause of the blasts that his that two tankers remains unknown, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo claimed, citing assessment based on intelligence, that Iran was behind the attack.

Iran, in its turn, denied the involvement in the incident. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif said earlier in the day, the United States had not provided any evidence to substantiate its claims.

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