US shares new images of Iranian activity after tanker attack

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A U.S. military image released by the Pentagon in Washington on June 17, which is says was taken from a U.S. Navy MH-60R helicopter in the Gulf of Oman in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran on June 13, shows personnel that the Pentagon says are members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy leaving after removing an unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous, a Japanese owned commercial motor tanker. (Reuters)
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A U.S. military image released by the Pentagon in Washington on June 17, which the Pentagon says was taken from a U.S. Navy MH-60R helicopter, shows what the Navy says are the remnants of the magnetic attachment device of an unexploded limpet mine on the side of the Japanese owned motor tanker Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman on June 13, 2019. (Reuters)
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This image released on June 17, 2019 by the US Department of Defense in a press release is presented as a new evidence incriminating Iran in the June 13 tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. (AFP)
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Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker is anchored offshore of the port of Fujairah in a satellite overview image over the United Arab Emirates, June 17, 2019. (Reuters)
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This image released on June 17, 2019 by the US Department of Defense in a press release is presented as a new evidence incriminating Iran in the June 13 tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. (AFP)
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A U.S. military image released by the Pentagon in Washington on June 17 shows what the Navy says is the hull penetration and blast damage on the starboard side of the Japanese owned motor tanker vessel Kokuka Courageous, which was sustained from a June 13 limpet mine attack while operating in the Gulf of Oman and photographed by the U.S. military the following day on June 14, 2019. Picture taken June 14, 2019. (Reuters)
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New images add to a video released last week showing Iranian involvment in the attacks on the ships. (US Navy)
Updated 18 June 2019

US shares new images of Iranian activity after tanker attack

  • Iran is responsible for the attack based on video evidence, said the Pentagon

WASHINGTON: The United States military on Monday released new photos it says incriminate Iran in an attack last week on a tanker ship in strategic Gulf waters.
The US argument centers on an unexploded limpet mine on the Kokuka Courageous ship it says was removed by Iranians on a patrol boat.
“Iran is responsible for the attack based on video evidence and the resources and proficiency needed to quickly remove the unexploded limpet mine,” the Pentagon said in a statement accompanying the imagery.
The US released a grainy black and white video last week it said showed the Iranians removing the mine, but has not provided an explanation for why they allegedly did so while the US military was observing them.
One of the photos released Monday shows what the Pentagon described as “the remnants of the magnetic attachment device of (an) unexploded limpet mine,” while others picture the place where the mine was allegedly attached.
Additional images picture damage from what the US says was a limpet mine that did explode on the same ship, and others are said to show the Iranians removing the unexploded mine and the patrol boat they traveled on.


Lebanon asks world’s help ‘trying to rise from its rubble’

Updated 26 min 18 sec ago

Lebanon asks world’s help ‘trying to rise from its rubble’

  • Aoun said Lebanon is facing multiple crises that pose an unprecedented threat to the country’s existence
  • An explosion at Beirut port devastated large parts of the capital, killed almost 200 people

BEIRUT: Facing an economic meltdown and other crises, Lebanon’s president on Wednesday asked for the world’s help to rebuild the capital’s main port and neighborhoods that were blown away in last month’s catastrophic explosion.
President Michel Aoun made the plea in a prerecorded speech to the UN General Assembly’s virtual summit, telling world leaders that Lebanon’s many challenges are posing an unprecedented threat to its very existence.
Most urgently, the country needs the international community’s support to rebuild its economy and its destroyed port. Aoun suggested breaking up the damaged parts of the city into separate areas and so that countries that wish to help can each commit to rebuilding one.
“Beirut today is trying to rise from its rubble, and it is with the solidarity of all the Lebanese and your support that it will heal its wounds and rise as it has previously risen repeatedly throughout history,” Aoun said. “There is a great need for the international community to support the reconstruction of destroyed neighborhoods and facilities.”
The massive Aug. 4 explosion happened when about 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrates — which had been rotting in a port warehouse for more than six years — ignited. Nearly 200 people were killed, 6,500 injured and a quarter of a million people were left with homes that were not fit to live in.
The cause of the blaze that ignited the chemicals still isn’t known, but the explosion is widely seen as the culmination of decades of corruption and mismanagement by Lebanon’s ruling class.
It came on top of an unprecedented economic crisis which has seen the local currency lose up to 80 percent of its value and decimated people’s savings, feeding despair among a population that has long ago given up on its leaders. Poverty and unemployment are soaring, made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.
A local investigation into the blast is underway, but no one has been held accountable so far.
Aroun said Lebanon had requested technical assistance from certain countries, particularly soil samples and satellite images from the moment of the explosion.
“Teams from several countries came for technical assistance and to carry out the necessary research and we are still waiting for their information... as well as the satellite images to clear the ambiguity in this part of the investigation,” he added.
Earlier Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for swift formation of a government to be followed by tangible steps to implement economic, social and political reforms.
Lebanon’s government resigned under pressure in the wake of the port explosion, and Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib has been unable to form a new government amid a political impasse over which faction gets to have the Finance Ministry, as well as other disputes.
Guterres said the disastrous port explosion “must be a wake-up call.”
“Without such action, the country’s ability to recover and rebuild will be jeopardized, adding to the turmoil and hardship of the Lebanese people,” Guterres added.
Guterres made his remarks during a meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings.