U.S. warn­ing fire halts Ira­nian boat

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

DUBAI, United Arab Emi­rates — A U.S. Navy pa­trol boat fired warn­ing shots Tues­day near an Ira­nian ves­sel that Amer­i­can sailors said moved dan­ger­ously close to them dur­ing a tense en­counter in the Per­sian Gulf.

Iran’s Revo­lu­tion­ary Guard later blamed the Amer­i­can ship for pro­vok­ing the in­ci­dent.

The USS Thun­der­bolt, a Cy­clone-class pa­trol ship based in Bahrain as part of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, was tak­ing part in an ex­er­cise with Amer­i­can and other coali­tion ves­sels in in­ter­na­tional wa­ters when the Ira­nian pa­trol boat ap­proached it, 5th Fleet spokesman Lt. Ian McCon­naughey said.

The Ira­nian ship did not re­spond to ra­dio calls, flares and horn blasts as it moved within 150 yards of the Thun­der­bolt, forc­ing the U.S. sailors aboard to fire the warn­ing shots, McCon­naughey said.

Iran’s para­mil­i­tary Revo­lu­tion­ary Guard in­stead blamed the Thun­der­bolt for the in­ci­dent, say­ing in a state­ment that the Amer­i­can ves­sel moved to­ward one of its pa­trol boats. It said the Thun­der­bolt fired into the air “with the in­ten­tion to pro­voke and cre­ate fear.”

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