Al Qaeda-linked group says it attacked Japanese oil tanker


Tokyo : A militant group linked to Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for last week’s attack on a Japanese supertanker in the Strait of Hormuz, a US-based intelligence organisation said.

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The Brigades of Abdullah Azzam claimed it sent a suicide bomber to attack the M Star oil tanker, according to the SITE intelligence analysis group that tracks international terrorists.

A statement issued on jihadist websites Tuesday said the bombing was carried out by a militant named Ayyub al-Taishan, SITE said. It included a photograph of a man pointing to a computer screen showing the tanker.

“The Brigades explained that due to the effect of this attack on the global economy and oil prices, the enemy concealed the reality of the operation, and some attributed it to an earthquake. They mocked such reports,” the SITE report said.

Abdullah Azzam was a militant of Palestinian origin, who took up arms in the early days of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He is considered an early pioneer of the ideology and theology behind borderless radical and armed Islamism.

He died in a bomb explosion in 1989, when he was already part of the nascent Al Qaeda movement.

Numerous groups from Pakistan to the Mediterranean have taken up his name for their armed wings, including one linked to the Pakistani Taliban and an organisation that targeted tourist destinations across the Middle East.

The tanker incident occurred shortly after midnight Wednesday, when the 160,292-ton M Star, owned by Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd, was sailing between Oman and Iran. It was carrying crude oil from the port of Das Island in Abu Dhabi to Japan.

According to Mitsui OSK Lines, the explosion may have been caused by an “external attack”. One person reportedly sustained slight injuries but no oil leaked from the vessel, Kyodo News reported.