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Trump says USS Boxer destroyed Iranian drone in Strait of Hormuz

Washington — A US Navy ship shot down an Iranian drone Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz, President Donald Trump said.

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The drone came within 1,000 yards of the ship, the USS Boxer, and ignored "multiple calls to stand down," Trump said at the White House Thursday. "The drone was immediately destroyed."

Trump called the incident "the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters."

Earlier Thursday, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps told state TV it seized the MT Riah tanker and its crew of 12 Sunday when on its way to deliver smuggled fuel taken from "Iranian boats to foreign ships in farther areas."

The report contradicted a statement from an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman two days ago, which said the MT Riah had asked for help after experiencing "technical problems" and it had been towed into Iranian waters for necessary repairs.

The US Department of Defense and Department of State plan Friday to unveil a "maritime security initiative" for the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman, Brian Hook, State's special representative for Iran said Tuesday.

Ship operators in the Middle East have been on high alert and insurance rates have soared since tanker attacks near Fujairah in May and June. The US has blamed Iran for the attacks.

The UK government said last week that an oil tanker owned by BP, the British Heritage, was approached by three Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf attempting to impede the vessel.

-- Brian Scheid, brian.scheid@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, newsdesk@spglobal.com