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‘US warship destroys Iranian drone’, claims Donald Trump amid diplomatic tensions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later at the UN headquarters said, “We have no information about losing a drone today”.

SNS | New Delhi |

Amid heightened tensions between the US and Tehran, US President Donald Trump on Thursday confirmed that a US warship destroyed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday.

Trump said, “USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship of the US Navy, destroyed the drone that threatened the US warship by flying within 1,000 yards of it and ignored multiple warning” while speaking at the White House.

He further said that the drone was “threatening the safety of the ship and its crew”, calling the downing a “defensive action”.

“USS Boxer downed the approaching drone at approximately 10 a.m. during its planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz”, Chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

“A fixed-wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached USS 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,” the statement further said.

In response to the US, Iran said, “The tanker was seized south of Iran’s Larak Island”.

According to US defense officials, the Iranian drone was brought down by counter-drone jamming equipment, which was operated by US marines aboard the USS Boxer.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later at the UN headquarters said, “We have no information about losing a drone today”.

The incident came as Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that it had seized a foreign ship “smuggling fuel” in the Gulf on Thursday, days after reports of a British tanker being harassed in the region.

Tensions spiked last month when Iran shot down a US drone over sensitive Gulf waters following a series of oil tanker attacks that Washington blamed on Tehran, which the latter denied.

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani had also blamed the US for regional tensions and said that if Washington had stuck to the nuclear deal “they would have witnessed positive developments in the region”.