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Trump Says U.S. Warship Shot Down Iranian Drone over Strait of Hormuz

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 18, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

President Trump announced Thursday that a U.S. warship has downed an Iranian drone flying in the Strait of Hormuz.

“The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone, which had closed into a near distance, approximately 1000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down, threatening [the] safety of [the] ship and ship’s crew,” Trump told reporters during a White House press conference.

The drone was “immediately destroyed,” according to the president.

The confrontation comes four weeks after Iranian forces downed a U.S. drone that they claimed was flying in Iranian airspace, but which the Pentagon claimed was occupying international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz. It was also just hours after Iranian forces seized a foreign oil tanker traveling in the strait, a major thoroughfare through which one third of the world’s oil supply flows. Iranian officials claimed the tanker was transporting roughly 1 million gallons of smuggled fuel.

“It’s a small ship,” Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif said Thursday. “We do it every other day. These are people who are smuggling our fuel.”

President Trump noted the recent acts of aggression during his Thursday remarks, calling the drone’s refusal to stand down “the latest of many provocative and hostile actions against vessels operating in international waters.”

The U.S. “reserves [the] right to defend our personnel, facilities, [and] condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce,” he added.

Trump signed an executive order imposing further economic sanctions on Iran after its forces downed the U.S. drone in June.

“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities,” Trump said at the time.

It remains unclear what, if any, new punitive measures will be implemented in response to the latest provocation.

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