The US and Israeli defense chiefs vowed on Friday to cooperate closely on regional security after they laid blame on Iran for a recent attack on an oil tanker.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz addressed the July 29 attack on the Mercer Street during a telephone call, and 'expressed concern about Iran’s proliferation and employment of one-way attack UAVs across the region and committed to continue cooperating closely on regional security,' said the Pentagon.
'They agreed to work together alongside allies and partners in condemning Iran’s aggression that undermines freedom of navigation, and they exchanged views on next steps,' spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
The G7 earlier Friday released a statement formally blaming Iran for the attack that killed two sailors, and US Central Command (CENTCOM), which is the Pentagon's Middle East command, followed up by saying the ship came under attack from drones twice before the third fatal attack took place.
Explosives experts were able to recover pieces of the third drone, including a vertical stabilizer and internal components, which the US military said 'were nearly identical to previously collected examples from Iranian one-way attack UAVs.'
'The distance from the Iranian coast to the locations of the attacks was within the range of documented Iranian one-way attack UAVs,' said CENTCOM. 'Following an on-scene analysis, some of the material was transferred to U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters in Manama, Bahrain and subsequently to a U.S. national laboratory for further testing and verification.'
The evidence was presented to Israel and the UK that 'concurred' the drone was produced in Iran, central command added.
By Michael Hernandez in Washington