A US official said the missile missed the aircraft and landed in the water, according to CNN. The official said the MQ-9 drone saw Iranian vessels nearing the tankers before Thursday’s attacks. However, they did not disclose whether the US saw vessels attacking the tankers.
The same official said just days prior to the attack, a US reaper drone was shot down in the Red Sea by an alleged Iranian missile fired by Houthi rebels.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the attack on the tankers on Thursday.
He said: “Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted.
“The international community condemns Iran’s assault on the freedom of navigation and the targeting of innocent civilians.”
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The UK also said on Friday it believes the attacks were orchestrated by Iran.
Mr Pompeo also believes Iran’s attack on four other tankers last month were an attempt to inflate international oil prices.
US President Donald Trump is also convinced that Tehran is responsible for the attack on the tankers.
He said referring to images and video released by the Pentagon on Thursday, “Iran did do it and you know they did it because you saw the boat.”
In the video, a small boat is seen sailing up the side of the Japanese tanker.
An individual stands up on the bow of the boat and can be seen removing an object from the tanker’s hull.
The US has said the object is likely to be an unexploded mine.
Iran has denied any involvement in the attack.
A spokesman for the Iranian mission Alireza Miryousefi tweeted a statement saying Iran “categorically rejects the US unfounded claim” and “condemns it in the strongest possible terms.”