U.S. Navy explosive experts believe a "drone strike" targeted an oil tanker that came under attack off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea, killing two on board, the American military said Saturday.
The strike Thursday night on the oil tanker Mercer Street marks the first-known fatal attack after years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions with Iran over its tattered nuclear deal. While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Israeli officials alleged Tehran launched the drone strike.
U.S. and European sources familiar with intelligence reporting said Iran was their leading suspect for the incident, which a U.S. defense official said appeared to have been carried out by a drone, but stressed their governments were seeking conclusive evidence.
The American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and the guided missile destroyer USS Mitscher were escorting the Mercer Street as it headed to a safe port, the U.S. Navy's Mideast-based 5th Fleet said in a statement early Saturday.