The U.S. military shot down an Iranian drone threatening U.S. ships in the Strait of Hormuz.
The Washington Examiner reports,
The United States took action on Thursday amid escalating tensions with the Middle East country. President Trump announced the event at a press conference soon after it happened. Iran has not yet responded.
“[The USS Boxer] took defensive action against an Iranian drone,” Trump said. “It was threatening the ship and the ship’s crew. The drone was immediately destroyed.”
“This is the latest in many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters,” Trump added. “The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities, and interests and calls upon all nations to Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce.”
“At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz. A fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew,” chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have steadily risen since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear agreement in May 2018, throwing sanctions back on Tehran and squeezing the country’s economy. On Thursday, Iran announced it had seized United Arab Emirates-based ship and was holding it and its crew captive. The U.S. has demanded Iran release the ship.
It was the US Marines aboard the USS Boxer that downed the suspected Iranian drone, a US official tells CNN. The Marines were operating the counter-drone jamming equipment that was used. There are about 2,000 Marines on the Boxer from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit https://t.co/pWYjD1XCxQ
— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) July 18, 2019
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters at the U.N. that “we have no information about losing a drone today,” according to Reuters.