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Report: Terrorists Damaged Japanese Tanker

This undated handout picture released by Japanese shipping company Mitsui OSK Line on 29 Jul 2010 shows the oil tanker 'M.Star'

The state news agency of the United Arab Emirates says a Japanese oil tanker damaged in the Strait of Hormuz last week was the target of a terrorist attack.

The UAE news agency said Friday that investigators found a dent on the starboard side of the tanker and remnants of homemade explosives on the hull. The agency said explosives were loaded onto a boat that approached the ship.

Japan's Transport Minister Seiji Maehara has instructed his ministry to request details of the investigation from the UAE.

The tanker, known as M. Star, left the port of Fujairah Friday after having the damage repaired.

On Thursday, an al-Qaida-linked group, the Brigades of Abdullah Azzam, claimed responsibility for the tanker damage. In a statement posted on Islamist websites, the group said the attack was carried out in the name of Omar Abdel-Rahman. He is serving a life prison sentence in the U.S. for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

The militant group says one of its members "detonated himself" against the M. Star tanker, last Wednesday. The group says it delayed dissemination of a statement until its "heroes returned safely" to their bases.

Last week, the tanker's owner, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, said it suspected the blast was the result of an attack. A company spokeswoman said the incident was being investigated as a terrorist attack.

Crew members reported an explosion as the tanker was leaving the Persian Gulf with about two million barrels of crude oil.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.