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U.S. Navy Ship Destroys Iranian Drone Over Strait Of Hormuz

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The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), seen here in a 2016 U.S. Navy photo, shot down an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, President Trump said.
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The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), seen here in a 2016 U.S. Navy photo, shot down an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, President Trump said.

Updated at 5:03 p.m. ET

A U.S. Navy warship called the USS Boxer shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, President Trump said, adding, "The drone was immediately destroyed."

"The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone," Trump said, giving details about the encounter at the start of a flag presentation ceremony at the White House. He said the drone had closed to about 1,000 yards from the U.S. ship, "ignoring multiple calls to stand down."

The drone was threatening the safety of the U.S. ship and its crew, Trump said.

In a statement about the incident, chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said that a drone approached the USS Boxer at around 10 a.m. local time and that the ship was in international waters, sailing in "an inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz."

Hoffman described the drone as a "fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS)."

While few details about the drone are available, a defense official tells NPR's Tom Bowman that the drone was "assessed to be Iranian" and that it was shot down by the Boxer because of "an aggressive act."

"This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters," Trump said. "The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities and interests."

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"We have no information about losing a drone today," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters at the United Nations.

The shootdown took place one day after Iran's military unveiled a new drone that it says is entirely Iranian-made. Called the Mohajer 6, the rear-propelled fixed-wing aircraft is "capable of detecting , intercepting and targeting the threats on missions inside or outside airspace," according to the official state news agency IRNA.

The official news agency cited Brig. Gen. Shahram Hassannejad in reporting that the new drone can carry "precision-guided projectiles" and can operate in a wide range of weather conditions and locations.

In his remarks, Trump called on other countries to condemn "Iran's attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce." He added that other nations should also protect their ships in the strait, which lies between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

The drone encounter came on the same day Iran announced that its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy has seized a foreign-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. That interdiction took place on Sunday; Iran alleges that the ship was smuggling 1 million liters (264,000 gallons) of fuel.

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