Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Iran is responsible for the attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman Thursday. Referring to the attack as a "blatant assault," Pompeo said during a press conference, "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." He accused Iran of attempting to disrupt the flow of oil through the strategic Strait of Hormuz, and said the US will defend its forces and interests in the region, Fox News reports.
"These unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran," Pompeo continued, per the AP. The US Navy rushed to assist the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, which were loaded with petroleum products, after the attack. There was no immediate word on what weapons were used, but a senior US defense official tells Fox an unexploded mine was seen attached to the hull of one of the tankers. (Much more on the attacks here.)