Drone used in ship attack that killed British crew member was made in Iran, Pentagon experts conclude

The drone that attacked MV Mercer Street was built in Iran, the Pentagon has concluded (AFP via Getty Images)

A US Department of Defense investigation found that the drone used to attack the MV Mercer Street ship was made in Iran.

the PentagonThe Central Command released the findings of its investigation into the July 30 attack on the commercial vessel which dug a hole in the ship’s deck, killing two crew members, including one British citizen.

A Romanian crew member was also killed in the attack off the coast of Oman.

The statement said an investigation team was dispatched to inspect the USS Ronald Reagan supercarrier ship.

He discovered that the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that struck Mercer Street was “loaded with a military grade explosive” that had been built in Iran.

“The use of Iran-designed and manufactured ‘kamikaze’ one-way attack drones is a growing trend in the region,” the report’s summary said.

“They are actively used by Iran and its proxies against coalition forces in the region, to include targets in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.”

A summary of the United States Central Command investigation of MV Mercer Street (US CentCom)

A summary of the United States Central Command investigation of MV Mercer Street (US CentCom)

The Pentagon investigation revealed that the ship had been the target of two UAV attacks the day before July 30.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday it was “very likely” that Iran is responsible for the deadly attack, the first after years of attacks on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions with Iran over its tattered nuclear deal.

“We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted and a flagrant violation of international law by Iran,” Raab said, adding his thoughts were with the family of the British victim.

“Iran must end such attacks and ships must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law.

“The UK is working with our international partners on a concerted response to this unacceptable attack. “

The deceased British national was an employee of the maritime security company Ambrey.

G7 foreign ministers also issued a statement to condemn the attack, and blamed it on Iran.

As part of the US investigation, material from Mercer Street was transported to the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, and then to a US national laboratory “for further testing and verification.”

Mercer Street is managed by London-based Zodiac Maritime, which is part of the Zodiac group of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer, and is owned by Taihei Kaiun, which is part of the Tokyo-based Nippon Yusen group.

British officials said Iran was also “almost certainly responsible” for the attacks on two ships in the Gulf of Oman in the summer of 2019.

Last week, Iran’s foreign ministry denied responsibility for the attack.

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