US releases new photos it says incriminate Iran in tanker attacks

Washington (AFP) - 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.

Tehran has vehemently denied any involvement in the attack on the Kokuka Courageous and another ship, and hinted that Washington itself could have done it to pile pressure on the Islamic republic on top of economic sanctions.

The crew of the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous reported that they saw a "flying object" before a second blast on board, the head of the shipping company said Friday.