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US shoots down Iranian drone

US President Donald Trump has said the US Navy destroyed an Iranian drone in the Straits of Hormuz.

Speaking at the White House yesterday, President Trump said the USS Boxer was approached by an Iranian drone and after ignoring multiple warnings to stand down the drone was destroyed. Trump said the drone was approximately 1,000 yards from the USS boxer, an amphibious assault ship operating in the Gulf.

He added: “This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters. The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, facilities and interests.”

Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz when it came under surveillance by the approaching drone. “The ship took defensive action against the [drone] to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew,” Hoffman added.

A US Defence Department official claimed the drone had been brought down using electronic jamming equipment.

Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters at the UN in New York that Iran had no information about losing a drone in the Straits. This morning Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi suggested the US may have shot down its own drone by mistake.

Sepah News, which is associated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said on Thursday that an alleged fuel-smuggling ship was seized on Sunday during naval patrols aimed at “discovering and confronting organised smuggling”. Video footage was also published which showed Iranian speedboats circling around the Riah, a ship that went missing on 14 July.

Earlier this week, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, said that its navy was assisting a “foreign tanker that had encountered a technical problem” in the Gulf after receiving a distress call. “According to international regulations … Iranian forces approached it and using a tugboat brought it into Iranian waters for necessary repairs,” Mousavi said.