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US Navy ship fired warning shots at Iranian vessels

photo by AP photo

US Navy fires warning shots on approaching Iranian ships during incident in the Strait of Hormuz.

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11th-Jan-2017       
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Reuters, Washington :
A US Navy destroyer fired three warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait of Hormuz after they closed in at high speed and disregarded repeated requests to slow down, U.S. officials said on Monday.
The incident, which occurred on Sunday and was first reported by Reuters, comes as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office on Jan. 20. In September, Trump vowed that any Iranian vessels that harassed the U.S. Navy in the Gulf would be "shot out of the water."
"This was an unsafe and unprofessional interaction, and that is due to the fact that they were approaching at a high level of speed with weapons manned and disregarding repeated warnings," Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a briefing.
The warning shots were fired at the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps boats by the USS Mahan after it established radio contact but failed to get them to slow down, Davis said, confirming earlier accounts of U.S. defense officials.
Those officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the Iranian vessels came within 900 yards (800 meters) of the Navy destroyer, which was escorting two other U.S. military ships.
The Mahan also fired flares and a U.S. Navy helicopter also dropped a smoke float before the warning shots, they said.
The IRGC and Trump transition team were not immediately available for comment.
The White House said the Iranian vessels had behaved in an unacceptable manner and that such incidents risked increasing tensions.

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