The US says Iran was behind attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman Thursday—and it has proof to back up the claim. A video released by the US military's Central Command late Thursday shows what American officials say was an Iranian Revolutionary Guard boat removing an unexploded limpet mine from the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, possibly in an attempt to conceal evidence. the Guardian reports. The military says the patrol boat removed the mine several hours after an initial explosion hit the ship. There was also an explosion on the Norwegian-owned Front Altair, which burned for hours afterward. Sources tell the New York Times that the crew of the Kokuka Courageous evacuated the ship after surveying damage and spotting an unexploded mine attached to the hull.
"The US and the international community stand ready to defend our interests, including the freedom of navigation," said Central Command spokesman Bill Urban. "The United States has no interest in engaging in a new conflict in the Middle East. However, we will defend our interests." Iran strongly rejected claims it was involved in the attacks, accusing the US of waging an "Iranophobic" campaign, the AP reports. "The US and its regional allies must stop warmongering and put an end to mischievous plots as well as false flag operations in the region," Iran's UN mission said in a statement. Japan's defense minister said Friday that the country has no plans to send troops to the region in response to the attack. (Read more Iran stories.)