Published: Fri, July 19, 2019

USA 'destroyed' Iranian drone near USS Boxer

USA 'destroyed' Iranian drone near USS Boxer

Mr. Trump then called on other nations to "protect their ships as they go through the strait and to work with us in the future".

Tensions in the Gulf region are high, with fears that the United States and Iran could stumble into war.

The Panamanian-flagged oil tanker MT Riah stopped transmitting its location early Sunday near Qeshm Island, which has a Revolutionary Guard base on it, according to data listed on tracking site Maritime Traffic.

Relations between Tehran and the West have been increasingly strained after Britain seized an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar and London said the British Heritage, operated by oil company BP, had been approached in the strait between Iran and the Arabian peninsula.

It is unclear whether the tanker seized Sunday was the same vessel as one that Iran claimed to have assisted earlier this week.

Crude prices, which had been falling since last week, ticked higher nearly immediately after reports of the incident.

The seizure of the ship does not immediately appear to directly target any one particular country and shows the Revolutionary Guard cracking down on illegal smuggling of Iranian oil.

About a fifth of the world's oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

United Kingdom warships have meanwhile been shadowing British oil tankers in the area since Iran threatened to seize one in response to the impounding of an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar.

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

A USA official told ABC News that it was the Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit that destroyed the Iranian drone using counter-drone jamming equipment.

The U.S. has sent thousands of additional troops, B-52 bombers and advanced fighter jets to the region amid the heightened tensions.

It also comes a month after Iran shot down a $110 million U.S. Navy surveillance drone flying in global waters over the Strait of Hormuz.

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