The Mercer Street
The Mercer StreetReuters

A US Defense Department expert team has concluded that the drone behind the deadly attack on the Mercer Street commercial vessel last week was produced in Iran, US Central Command said in a statement on Friday.

The statement, quoted by CNN, said that the investigative team dispatched to the vessel from the USS Ronald Reagan found that the ship off the coast of Oman was targeted on July 30 by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) “loaded with a military-grade explosive.” The attack killed two on board the vessel.

“The use of Iranian designed and produced one way attack ‘kamikaze’ UAVs is a growing trend in the region,” an executive summary included in an accompanying report said. “They are actively used by Iran and their proxies against coalition forces in the region, to include targets in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.”

The investigation found that the ship was targeted by two other unsuccessful UAV attacks on July 29.

The July 30 attack “required calculated and deliberate retargeting of M/T MERCER STREET by Iran,” the report said.

The release of the findings by the Pentagon followed a statement of condemnation from the G7 Foreign Ministers blaming Iran for the attack.

“All available evidence clearly points to Iran. There is no justification for this attack,” the joint statement Friday said.

A spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry earlier this week vehemently denied claims that his country was behind the attack on the Mercer Street - a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned petroleum product tanker managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime.

The spokesman called the accusations "baseless and provocative," and warned that Iran would respond to any retaliatory action against it, "immediately and determinedly".

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)