The United States State Department has confirmed that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has shot down a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz, in international airspace.
ABC News reports the major provocation was intentional as Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of the IRGC said: “Shooting down the American spy drone had a clear, decisive, firm and accurate message.”
“The message is that the guardians of the borders of Islamic Iran will decisively respond to the violation of any stranger to this land,” Salami said. “The only solution for the enemies is to respect the territorial integrity and national interests of Iran.”
He continued: “We do not intend to engage in war with any country, but we are completely ready for the war. Today’s incident is a clear sign of this accurate message.”
Here’s more from ABC News:
Earlier, Iranian state media had quoted Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as saying it had downed the drone when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district north of the Strait of Hormuz.
“Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false,” said CENTCOM spokesperson Navy Capt. Bill Urban in a statement on Thursday morning. “This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace.”
Urban said the RQ-4A Global Hawk, which “provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions (ISR) over vast ocean and coastal regions,” was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz at approximately 11:35 p.m. GMT on June 19.
The incident is not the first time in recent days that Iran has targeted an American drone off its coast.
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Last Thursday, Iran attempted to shoot down an MQ-9 Reaper that was surveilling the attack on one of two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.