President Donald Trump said Thursday that the U.S. Navy has destroyed a drone controlled by Iran, calling the unmanned vehicle’s approach of an American ship a ‘provocative and hostile’ act.
Just this morning we told you about 500 troops being sent to Saudi Arabia to shore up defenses in the Middle East against an Iranian attack, and tonight we bring you news of the USS Boxer shooting down a hostile Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait of Hormuz is the only shipping lane between the Persian Gulf and the open ocean, making it a vitally important means to transport gas and oil. Twenty percent of all the oil consumed anywhere in the world passes through this area, and as such, remains a hotly-contested area of commerce as well as militarily significant.
USS Boxer was traveling through the Strait of Hormuz when an Iranian drone closed on its position in international waters
FROM DAILY MAIL UK: The conflict came in the Strait of Hormuz, the only shipping lane between the Persian Gulf and the open ocean. About one-fifth of the world’s oil passes through it. Trump said at the White House that the USS Boxer, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, ‘took defensive action’ after the drone strayed to within 1,000 yards.
‘The drone was immediately destroyed,’ he said, after its operators ignored ‘multiple calls to stand down.’
Chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said the Boxer was ‘conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz.’ A Defense Department official said electronic signal-jamming was employed to bring the drone down.
The president called the incident ‘the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters.’ Iran’s military recently shot down a U.S. drone that it said was flying in Iranian airspace, firing a strike with a surface-to-air missile.
President Trump called off a planned airstrike at the last moment, saying later that retaliating would have killed approximately 150 people on the ground. Trump made his announcement Thursday at the beginning of a White House ceremony to mark the return of an American flag that flew from the stern of an American ship in the D-Day invasion.
An hour earlier he had told reporters at the end of a photo-op with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte that ‘a big event just happened in Iran. A big event.’ The drone was downed in international waters, according to a Pentagon official.
The increased use of drones by Iran and its allies for surveillance and attacks across the Middle East is raising alarms in Washington, according to a Reuters report this week. The U.S. believes Iran-linked militias in Iraq have recently increased their surveillance of American troops and bases in the country by using off-the-shelf, commercially available drones.
The disclosure comes at a time of heightened tensions with Iran and underscores the many ways in which Tehran and the forces it backs are increasingly relying on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in places like Yemen, Syria, the Strait of Hormuz and Iraq.
Beyond surveillance, Iranian drones can drop munitions and even carry out ‘a kamikaze flight where they load it up with explosives and fly it into something’, according to a U.S. official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Iran now flies two or three drones over Gulf waters every day, the U.S. official estimated, making it a core part of Tehran’s effort to monitor the Strait of Hormuz. The United States and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of carrying out attacks against six oil tankers near the Strait in the past two months, a claim Tehran has denied.
‘We have seen an uptick in drone activity in Iraq near our bases and facilities,’ the official said. ‘Certainly the drones that we have seen are more of the commercial off-the-shelf variant. So they’re obviously a deniable type UAV-activity in Iraq.’ READ MORE
President Trump: U.S. Navy Ship Shot Down Iranian Drone Over Strait Of Hormuz
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