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U.S. military says video shows Iran removing unexploded mine from oil tanker

The U.S. military said Thursday it had a video showing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the two oil tankers targeted in the Strait of Hormuz. The black-and-white footage, as well as still photographs released by the U.S. military’s Central Command, appeared to show the limpet mine on the Kokuka Courageous.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said U.S.  intelligence pointed to Iran as being responsible for the attacks. Iran has denied being involved in the attack.
“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen would raise the issue at a hastily called meeting of the Security Council on Thursday. The U.S. mission to the U.N. requested the Security Council hold closed-door consultations Thursday on the situation in the Middle East.
Thursday’s attack near the vital shipping channel of the Strait of Hormuz was “only the latest in a series of attacks started by Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests” aimed at “escalating tension,” Pompeo said. “On April 22nd, Iran promised the world it would interrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz. It is now working to execute on that promise.”
He said the U.S. would defend its forces and interests in the region but gave no specifics about any plans for retaliation, and he took no questions.
A U.S. defense official earlier dismissed an Iranian claim to have rescued the crews of both vessels in the Gulf of Oman as “patently false.” He said the USS Bainbridge picked up 21 crew members. Iran claimed it dispatched search teams that rescued 44 sailors from the two vessels.
A U.S. defense official told CBS News that the U.S. has video of a small boat coming alongside one of the tankers that was attacked and removing an unexploded “limpet” mine — a type of explosive that can be stuck manually to the side of a vessel. It is the same type of weapon U.S. officials say Iran used to attack four oil tankers off the nearby Emirati port of Fujairah last month.
A U.S. official said earlier that American authorities expected to recover sufficient debris from the Thursday attacks to trace them back to their source. The official said any retaliation from the U.S. would depend on the evidence found linking the attacks to Iran, and on the attitudes of other Gulf countries. After the four tankers were attacked last month, key U.S. ally and Iranian arch-rival Saudi Arabia had no appetite for retaliation. That may now have changed, the official told CBS News.