Mossad intelligence helped link Iran to UAE tanker sabotage — report

US said set to present evidence on ‘pretty impressive’ attack — including materials gathered by Israel — to UN Security Council

The Emirati-flagged oil tanker A. Michel, May 13, 2019, one of four ships damaged in what Gulf officials called a 'sabotage' attack off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. (UAE National Media Council via AP)
The Emirati-flagged oil tanker A. Michel, May 13, 2019, one of four ships damaged in what Gulf officials called a 'sabotage' attack off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. (UAE National Media Council via AP)

Intelligence materials collected by Israel’s Mossad agency played a role in linking Iran to the sabotaging of four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates last month, prompting the United States to accuse Tehran of carrying out the attack, according to a report on Monday.

The US is slated to present the intelligence — including evidence gathered by Israel — in the coming days, likely before the UN Security Council, the Kan public broadcaster said, as tensions between Washington and Tehran continued to simmer.

An Israeli navy official described the purported Iranian attack on the UAE tankers as “a pretty impressive commando operation.”

The official added that the intelligence suggested the goal of the Islamic Republic had been to damage the vessels without injuring those on board.

Last month, US National Security Adviser John Bolton accused Iran and its proxies of carrying out the tanker bombings near the Strait of Hormuz, a coordinated drone attack on Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi rebels, and a rocket attack in Iraq. He did not provide direct evidence to back up claims linking Iran to the attacks, but told reporters that the conclusions were based on intelligence and evidence gathered in the region.

A longtime Iran hawk, Bolton blamed Tehran for the recent incidents, at one point saying it was “almost certainly” Iran that planted explosives on the four oil tankers off the UAE coast. He declined to offer any evidence for his claims.

“Who else would you think is doing it?” Bolton asked at one point, when pressed last week. “Somebody from Nepal?”

Iran has denied involvement in the attack.

US President Donald Trump, left, meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-In in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, as National Security adviser John Bolton, right, watches. May 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Several weeks before the incident, Channel 13 reported that the Mossad had tipped off the United States on an impending Iranian attack on American interests in the Gulf, prompting Washington to deploy an aircraft carrier strike group to the region, in a sharp escalation of US President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign.

Israeli officials conveyed information gathered largely by the Mossad on an Iranian plan to attack either a US or US-allied target, details of which were not provided to the network, Channel 13 reported.

The threat was initially raised by the White House in April, officials told the network, when an Israeli delegation led by National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat huddled with their American counterparts.

As of Monday, the USS Abraham Lincoln ordered by the White House to rapidly deploy to the Mideast over the perceived threat from Iran remains outside of the Persian Gulf, so far avoiding any confrontation with Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces, amid efforts to de-escalate tensions between Tehran and Washington.

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