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3 Dec, 2023 02:08

US Navy intercepts Iranian drone in Persian Gulf – Pentagon

The UAV was operating in an “unsafe manner,” US Central Command said
US Navy intercepts Iranian drone in Persian Gulf – Pentagon

American naval aircraft have intercepted an Iranian drone that was flying over the Persian Gulf, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Saturday.

The UAV was “operating in an unsafe and unprofessional manner” near a strike group led by the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, CENTCOM said on X (formerly Twitter). The US group had been deployed to support “maritime security and stability in the Middle East region,” the military said.

The reported encounter follows a string of incidents involving ships in the region, since war broke out between the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel on October 7.

On Wednesday, a drone launched from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen was shot down over the Red Sea by the US Navy destroyer USS Carney. The Pentagon said the Iran-produced UAV was moving towards the warship. The US vessel similarly shot down missiles and drones launched from Yemen in October.

The US sent two aircraft carrier strike groups to the Middle East in October to show support for Israel in its war against Hamas. The Pentagon said at the time that it was sending “a message of deterrence to Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.”

Earlier this week, a container ship owned by an Israeli billionaire was targeted by a suspected Iranian drone attack in the Indian Ocean, while a week before a British-owned cargo ship was seized by Houthis in the Red Sea. The Pentagon reported on Sunday that its vessels had thwarted an attempt to seize another commercial ship by “armed individuals” in a separate incident.

The Iran-backed rebels in Yemen insist that ships of Israeli origin are “legitimate targets” and say they are acting in support of the Palestinians.

Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks on the US Navy. On Tuesday, Amir Saeed Irwani, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, rejected the US accusations as “baseless.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has never been involved in any action or attack against the American military forces in Syria or elsewhere,” he said, as cited by Iran’s IRNA news agency.