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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Thursday that a US Navy ship had “destroyed” an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, after the aircraft threatened the ship in the latest incident in the Persian Gulf.
Trump said at a White House event that the drone had flown 1,000 yards (915 meters) from the USS Boxer.
“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against ships operating in international waters, and the United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests,” Trump said.
“The plane was destroyed immediately,” added Trump, who did not provide further details.
The Pentagon said in a statement that the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, had taken “defensive measures” against an unmanned aircraft, but did not mention that it was Iranian.
The United States blames Iran for a series of attacks on vessels in the world’s largest oil artery since mid-May, something Tehran rejects. The actions have caused fear that a war could be unleashed.
Earlier on Thursday, Washington demanded Iran to immediately release a ship it captured in the Persian Gulf and a US military commander in the region said the United States will work “aggressively” to guarantee free transit on the important route.
Washington responded to Iran’s announcement that it captured a foreign oil tanker carrying fuel in the Persian Gulf without authorization.