UAE probe of tanker attacks points to 'state actor'

Initial findings of an investigation led by the UAE of May 12th attacks on oil tankers point to the likelihood that a state was behind the bombings, but there is no evidence yet that Iran was involved, the UAE said Thursday (June 6th).

The UAE along with Saudi Arabia and Norway presented the preliminary findings during a briefing to the UN Security Council, which also will receive the final results of the probe to consider a possible response, AFP reported.

The US has accused Iran of being behind the attacks on the four oil tankers off the Emirati coast, which came at a time of escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington.

The four vessels -- two Saudi-flagged, a Norwegian-flagged and an Emirati-flagged -- were damaged by explosions that took place within UAE territorial waters, off the port of Fujairah.

After assessing the damage and carrying out chemical analysis, the UAE told the council that the attacks were sophisticated and of the type most likely carried out by state services.

"While investigations are still ongoing, these facts are strong indications that the four attacks were part of a sophisticated and co-ordinated operation carried out by an actor with significant operational capacity, most likely a state actor," said a statement from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Norway.

The initial findings showed that it was "highly likely" that four Limpet mines, which are magnetically attached to a ship's hull, were used in the attacks, placed by trained divers who were deployed from fast boats, according to the preliminary findings.

The UAE believes the attacks required intelligence capabilities to pick the four oil tankers as targets, one of which -- a Saudi ship -- was at the opposite end of the anchorage area at Fujairah from the three other tankers.

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