Middle East

Washington says no U.S. military drones shot down

In this file photo, a security personnel stands in front of the Mahshahr petrochemical plant in Khuzestan province, 1032 km (641 miles) southwest of Tehran, September 28, 2011. (REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/File Photo)

WASHINGTON: All Pentagon drones are accounted for, the U.S. Central command said in a statement on Friday, following reports from Iran's state news agency that Iranian forces had shot down a foreign country's drone.

"Alleged reports of a U.S. drone being shot down are incorrect. If a UAS had gone down in the CENTCOM AOR it was not a #DoD asset. All U.S. equipment has been accounted for," U.S. Central Command said in a post on Twitter.

IRNA quoted the governor of Iran's southern Khuzestan province, Gholamreza Shariati, as saying that the downed drone "definitely belonged to a foreign country. Its wreckage has been recovered and is being investigated."

Iranian media earlier reported that the army had shot down a drone over the Gulf port city of Mahshahr in Khuzestan province, without providing further details.

The official and Iranian news outlets did not say whether it was a military or civilian drone, or from which country it came.

Iran's arch-foe Israel declined to comment on the incident, with a spokeswoman for the Israeli military saying: "We do not comment on reports from the foreign media".

Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency said the drone "downed over Iran's airspace with the army's domestically made Mersad surface-to-air missile".

Iran's Arabic-Language al-Alam TV channel said: "Residents of Imam Khomeini port city heard the sound of a missile being fired Friday morning".

In June, Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone, which the Revolutionary Guards said was flying over southern Iran. Washington said the U.S. drone had been shot down by Iran in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf.

Relations between Iran and the United States have worsened since last year when President Donald Trump pulled out of Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reimposed sanctions on the country.

Israel says it has carried out hundreds of air strikes in neighboring Syria, some of them against Iranian targets, to prevent Tehran from establishing a presence there.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted in August of possible Israeli involvement in attacks on Iranian-backed militia positions in Iraq.

 

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