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A U.S. warship shot down an Iranian drone in the Persian Gulf on Thursday, President Donald Trump said.
The drone got within 1,000 yards of the U.S.S. Boxer, a Navy warship, and refused to back off after it was hailed multiple times, Trump told the press Thursday afternoon. The president said that the drone posed a threat to the ship and its crew.
“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters,” Trump said. “The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities and interests, and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce.”
The Pentagon confirmed the altercation. “A fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman in a statement. He said the incident took place at 10 a.m. local time, as the U.S. warship was entering the Strait of Hormuz.
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The altercation marks the latest escalation of spiraling tensions between the U.S. and Iran, following Iran’s take-down of an unmanned American drone in late June. That act brought Trump within minutes of launching retaliatory strikes on Iranian targets. Ultimately, however, Trump opted against the strikes, saying that such an attack would have put the U.S. on a warpath and was “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
For now, the Strait of Hormuz, one of the most heavily trafficked waterways in the world, has been the primary site of skirmishes between Iran and its opponents, including the U.S. Earlier in the day, Iran announced it had seized a foreign tanker it alleged was smuggling fuel into the Gulf.
Cover: President Donald Trump says the USS Boxer destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions between the two countries. Trump says it's the latest "hostile" action by Iran. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse Monford/U.S. Navy via AP)