Trump says US Navy ship destroys Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz

Iranian soldiers patrol the Strait of Hormuz

Iranian soldiers patrol the Strait of Hormuz

President Donald Trump says a U.S. ship "destroyed" an Iranian drone on Thursday.

President Donald Trump said Thursday at the White House that it was an Iranian drone that threatened the ship.

"The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone", Trump told reporters, "which had closed into a near distance, approximately 1,000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down threatening safety of ship and ship's crew".

Iran shot down a U.S. drone last month that it said was flying over its territory and the escalation raised concerns the two countries might go to war. Check back for updates.

U.S. Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Boxer used "counter-drone jamming equipment" to take down the drone, according to a CNN report citing a U.S. official.

Tehran denies this incident has ever taken place. At the time, President Trump showed restraint. "The drone was immediately destroyed", he continued.

"The U.S. reserves the right to defend personnel, facilities, interests", he said. Trump called off a planned retaliatory airstrike at the last minute.

"The US government is deeply concerned by the Iranian regime's uranium enrichment and other provocative behaviors, and will continue to target all who provide support to Iran's nuclear program", he added.

Tensions have been high in the Gulf since the USA tightened the sanctions that it reimposed on Iran's oil sector after unilaterally withdrawing from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

The state media later published footage of Iranian speedboats circling around the Panamanian-flagged Riah tanker.

An oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates travelling through the Strait of Hormuz drifted off into Iranian waters and stopped transmitting its location over two days ago.

Washington has called for an global "coalition" to patrol the strait.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Musavi said on July 17 that Tehran towed a vessel into an Iranian harbor after it suffered a technical malfunction.