Published: Wed, July 26, 2017
World News | By Cecilia Wilkerson

Another close encounter in the Persian Gulf

Another close encounter in the Persian Gulf

A U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots at an Iranian patrol boat on Tuesday in the northern end of the Persian Gulf, U.S. media reported Tuesday.

The Thunderbolt was taking part in an exercise with American and other coalition vessels in worldwide waters when the Iranian patrol boat approached it, 5th Fleet spokesman Lt. Ian McConnaughey said. According to The Hill, Navy officials claimed that the ship in question neglected to respond to initial warning signals, which included radio signals, flares, and five airings of the ship's whistle - the global naval signal for danger.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps naval vessel was approaching the USS Thunderbolt at a high rate of speed and ignored warnings from the USA ship that included voice communications and sound signals.

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It happened at around 03:00 local time (00:00 GMT), as the Iranian ship began to approach the USS Thunderbolt.

In reply the IRGC third naval zone said that its forces neutralized the United States vessel's provocative move.

"After the warning shots were fired, the Iranian vessel halted its unsafe approach", the lieutenant said in a statement, adding that the Iranian vessel created "a risk for collision".

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The USS Thunderbolt fired shots from.50-caliber machine gun, according to Fox News.

Tense naval encounters are not uncommon between Iranian and U.S. forces in the Gulf: Ten U.S. sailors were detained by the Iranian military in January 2016.

The US slapped fresh economic sanctions on Iran earlier this month, designating 18 individuals and entities for supporting what it said were "illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity".

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During the presidential campaign, Mr Trump vowed that any Iranian vessels that harass the US Navy in the Gulf would be "shot out of the water".

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