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US Ship Fires Warning Shots At Iranian Vessel After Extremely Close Encounter

A rigid hull inflatable boat from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) pulls alongside the coastal patrol craft USS Thunderbolt (PC 12) during a trilateral exercise between the U.S., Iraq and Kuwait. The U.S.-Iraq-Kuwait trilateral exercise, the first of its kind, is a quarterly exercise that serves to develop the proficiency of all participating forces to work together in support of regional safety and security. USS Mahan is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners, preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region. CDR NAVCENT Public Affairs/U.S. Naval Forces Command/U.S. 5th FleetA rigid hull inflatable boat from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) pulls alongside the coastal patrol craft USS Thunderbolt (PC 12) during a trilateral exercise between the U.S., Iraq and Kuwait. The U.S.-Iraq-Kuwait trilateral exercise, the first of its kind, is a quarterly exercise that serves to develop the proficiency of all participating forces to work together in support of regional safety and security. USS Mahan is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners, preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region. CDR NAVCENT Public Affairs/U.S. Naval Forces Command/U.S. 5th Fleet

A U.S. patrol ship fired warning shots at an Iranian boat in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday after it came startlingly close to to the vessel.

The USS Thunderbolt, a Cyclone class patrol ship, was forced to fire warning shots from its .50 caliber machine gun after the Iranian boat closed to 150 yards, ignoring radio calls and warning flares along the way, according to Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson.

The Thunderbolt fired five short bursts into the water due to concerns that there may be a collision, according to a CNN report. The ship ceased its actions but stayed in the area for several hours.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces are believed to have operated the vessel. The IRGC is Iran’s paramilitary wing that is known to have close ties to the country’s extremist, conservative theocratic leadership. It is primarily responsible for Iran’s operation in the Persian Gulf area and is known to act with hostility toward U.S. forces.

Encounters with Iranian vessels have become commonplace for U.S. forces patrolling in the Persian Gulf.

“Unfortunately, par for the course with Iran,” said Michael Singh, former senior director at the National Security Council and current managing director at the Washington Institute, in a tweet Tuesday.

Similar close encounters with Iranian vessels have taken an upswing in recent months, but Tuesday’s confrontation was one of the closer calls.

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Russ Read
the authorRuss Read
Russ Read is a foreign policy reporter and Pentagon correspondent for The Daily Caller News Foundation. He covers defense, terrorism and the Middle East and friends.

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