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UAE suspects role of 'state actors' behind oil tanker attack

UAE suspects role of 'state actors' behind oil tanker attack

According to its report, it was a "sophisticated and coordinated" operation by a state actor with efficiency of leading such an operation.

The report on Thursday said the UAE, Norway and Saudi Arabia plan to share the evidence with the London-based International Maritime Organisation.

Iran quickly denied responsibility for the attacks through its foreign ministry, warning against "plots by ill-wishers to disrupt regional security".

The attacks took place within UAE territorial waters, east of the port of Fujairah, an oil export terminal on the Sea of Oman.

At that time, Abu Dhabi said it was investigating the incident and did not release details about the nature of the attack.

The inquiry looked into the mysterious sabotage of the ships - two Saudi oil tankers, an Emirati ship and a Norwegian tanker.

UAE Permanent Representative to the United Nations Lana Nusseibeh, and the Norwegian and Saudi Arabian representatives briefed reporters in NY.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton previously said "naval mines nearly certainly from Iran" were to blame for the damage, although he provided no evidence to support the allegation. The US sees the attacks as part of a wider "campaign" against it and its allies.

Iran has rejected accusations that it was behind the sabotage and diplomats said there was no mention of Iran's possible role during the briefing by the UAE. Saudi Arabia hosted Arab, Gulf and Islamic summits last week to gather support for unified opposition to Tehran.

While investigations are still ongoing, the joint statement said that "these facts are strong indications that the four attacks were part of a sophisticated and coordinated operation carried out by an actor with significant operational capacity, most likely a state actor".

"The attacks required trained divers; the explosive charges were placed with a high degree of precision under the waterline, in ways that were created to incapacitate the ships without sinking them or detonating their cargoes - indicating minute knowledge of the design of the targeted ships", the statement read.

However, the countries did not name Iran in their report, which has been repeatedly accused by the United States for the attack. Speaking with journalists, Vladimir Safronkov, a Russian ambassador to the United Nations, said that "we should not rush to conclusions" and "the investigations will continue".

The report did say, however, that strikes occurred less than 13 miles from the UAE coastline - endangering worldwide commercial navigation and threatening "international peace and security".

Regional tensions have spiked since President Donald Trump's administration reimposed sanctions against Iran after the United States unilaterally pulled out of an global agreement that eased nternational sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear program.