Tensions surge as USA accuses Iran of attacking tankers

Oil Jumps From Near Five Month Low After Report Tanker on FireMore

"The crew told us something came flying at the ship, and they found a hole", Katada said.

US Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesperson for his country's US Military's Central Command, said that the images showed the IRGC removing an "unexploded limpet mine" from the Japanese oil tanker Kokuka Courageous. As the day progressed, he hit back at the USA accusations, saying Washington is trying to set up a false-flag attack in order to "sabotage diplomacy" and cover up their own "economic terrorism" against Tehran.

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said Iran's recent actions "present a clear threat to worldwide peace and security", and declared the US intention to raise the matter at the United Nations security council on Thursday afternoon. "Then some crew witnessed the second shot".

It was not immediately clear what befell the Norwegian-owned Front Altair or the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, which both experienced explosions, forcing crews to abandon ship and leave the vessels adrift in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran.

"I do not consider Trump as a person worth exchanging any message with", Ayatollah Khamenei reportedly said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was visiting Tehran when Thursday's attacks occurred, carrying a message for Iran from Trump. The ship had loaded a cargo of naphtha in Abu Dhabi and was bound for Taiwan, a company official said.

Pompeo, hit back at the statement in his news conference - saying Zarif "may think this is amusing, but no one else in the world does". "However, we will defend our interests".

"Obviously, accusing Iran for such a suspicious and unfortunate incident is the simplest and the most convenient way for Pompeo and other U.S. officials".

"Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired this morning", he wrote on Twitter.

In London, benchmark Brent crude jumped 2.2 percent to $61.31 a barrel, while in NY, the United States standard, West Texas Intermediate, rose 2.2 percent, to $52.28. The tanker attacks have provided only a relatively small boost to prices that have been hammered by a deepening trade war and swelling U.S. stockpiles.

It was unclear if the video would be released publicly. Two Saudi, one UAE and one Norwegian oil tanker were damaged.

Nadal is just two grand slams away from Federer's record
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"I strongly condemn any attack against civilian vessels", the United Nations secretary general told a Security Council meeting on United Nations cooperation with the Arab League.

The US top diplomat said that in region only Iran had the ability to undertake such an operation. Tehran has denied responsibility for the May 12 attacks.

And though details of what happened were still scarce, the incidents came amid heightened frictions between the United States and Iran.

The missile crashed into the arrivals hall, damaging ceilings and windows and causing a fire, though the airport was able to keep functioning with only two flights cancelled.

In recent weeks, the Houthis have responded to Saudi-coalition's intensified raids on its positions by stepped up attacks inside Saudi Arabia, including on its oil infrastructure.

Two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz suffered suspected attacks on Thursday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the facts should be established but warned against stoking conflict in the volatile Gulf.

Thursday's attacks came as Shinzo Abe - prime minister of USA ally Japan, a big importer of Iranian oil until Washington ratcheted up sanctions - was visiting Tehran with a message from Trump. The Bahrain-based US Navy Fifth Fleet said it had assisted the two tankers after receiving distress calls.

"The incidents appear aimed at demonstrating the vulnerability of Gulf shipping while damaging confidence in the United States ability to protect freedom of navigation".

Tensions in the Middle East have escalated since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 multinational nuclear pact with Iran and reimposed sanctions, especially targeting Tehran's oil exports.

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