US destroys Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz: Trump

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WASHINGTON — The US military shot down an Iranian drone on Thursday that came within 1,000 yards of one of its naval vessels in the Strait of Hormuz, President Donald Trump said.

The USS Boxer "took defensive action" against the Iranian drone as it was "threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew," Trump announced at the White House. "The drone was immediately destroyed," he added.

The downing of the drone comes at a time of mounting tensions in the Gulf region between the US and Iran which has been slapped with a raft of sanctions by the Trump administration.

"This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran, against vessels operating in international waters," said Trump.

"The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel facilities, and interests and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran's freedom of navigation and global commerce.

"I also call on other nations to protect their ships as they go through the Strait and to work with us in the future."

Bahrain to host

security conference

Bahrain said Thursday it would host a conference on "maritime and air navigation security" amid a series of incidents involving tankers and drones which have sparked fears of a conflict with Iran.

The meeting will aim to bolster regional "security and stability" and "find ways to deter the Iranian threat and ensure freedom of navigation in this strategic region", the Gulf kingdom's BNA state news agency said.

Tensions in the Gulf have spiked in recent months, with the US blaming Iran for a series of tanker attacks in and near the highly strategic Strait of Hormuz, charges Iran denies. The Strait is the conduit for nearly a third of the world's crude oil.

Bahrain's announcement came the same day as Iran's Revolutionary Guards said they had detained a "foreign tanker" and its crew for allegedly smuggling fuel in the Gulf.

Also Thursday, US Central Command chief Kenneth McKenzie pledged to work "aggressively" to ensure maritime safety in strategic Gulf waters. — AFP


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