United States navy fires warning shots as Iranian vessel speeds towards them

Warning shots by a us ship, against a ship by iranian

According to CNN, the USS Vella Gulf and two other US ships were accompanying the Thunderbolt at the time of the incident.

A U.S. Navy patrol boat fired on an Iranian military ship Tuesday as it made an alarmingly fast and close approach in the Persian Gulf, marking the latest aggressive encounter between the two adversaries.

The Iranian ship continued its approach and the USS Thunderbolt again sounded five short blasts, and then warning shots in front of the Iranian vessel.

It happened at around 03:00 local time (00:00 GMT), as the Iranian ship began to approach the USS Thunderbolt. "It did not respond to any signals, they did not respond to any bridge-to-bridge calls, they felt there was no choice except to fire the warning shots", the official told AFP news agency. And in August, the USS Squall fired warning shots into waters ahead of a speeding Iranian boat to warn the small craft that it had come within 200 yards of the US ship.

A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Iranian boat was armed but that the weapons were unmanned. It said the Thunderbolt fired into the air "with the intention to provoke and create fear".

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.

While the number of encounters between Iranian and USA forces has declined in recent months, Tuesday's incident is one of several so far this year.

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".

Iranian forces view the American presence in the Gulf as a provocation by itself.

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