Initial U.S. assessment blames Iran for ship attacks

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

WASHINGTON -- An American military team's initial assessment is Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives Sunday to blow large holes in four ships anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. official said Monday.

The official said each ship has a 5- to 10-foot hole in it, near or just below the water line, and the team's early belief is the holes were caused by explosive charges. The team of U.S. military experts was sent to investigate the damages at the request of the UAE, but American officials have not provided any details about what exactly happened or any proof as yet about the possible Iranian involvement in the explosions.

The U.S. has warned ships "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and America has moved additional ships and aircraft into the region.

The incident comes after months of increasing diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran, which the U.S. accuses of threatening American interests and allies in the region, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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