Dubai — Two oil tankers were damaged on Thursday in a suspected attack near the entrance to the Persian Gulf, stoking fears that high-stakes diplomatic efforts won’t avert a military confrontation between the US and Iran. Oil prices surged.

The incidents, including an attack on a Japanese-operated vessel, were the second in a month to hit ships near the Strait of Hormuz chokepoint, through which about 40% of the world’s seaborne oil travels. They come as Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, a rare ally of both US President Donald Trump and Iranian leaders, visits Tehran in an effort to ease tensions...

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