U.S. Navy ships harassed, provoked
Published: Monday, January 7, 2008 at 9:45 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 7, 2008 at 9:45 a.m.
WASHINGTON - In what is being called a serious provocation, Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats harassed and provoked three U.S. Navy ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, officials said Monday.
U.S. forces were on the verge of firing on the Iranian boats in the early Sunday incident, when the boats ended the incident and turned and moved away, said a Pentagon official.
"It is the most serious provocation of this sort that we've seen yet," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
The incident occurred at about 5 a.m. local time Sunday as a U.S. Navy cruiser, destroyer and frigate were transiting the strait on their way into the Persian Gulf.
"Five small boats were acting in a very aggressive way, charging the ships, dropping boxes in the water in front of the ships and causing our ships to take evasive maneuvers," the Pentagon official said.
"There were no injuries but there very well could have been," he said, adding that the Iranian boats turned away "literally at the very moment that U.S. forced were preparing to open fire" in self defense.
He said he didn't have the precise transcript of communications that passed between the two forces, but the Iranians radioed something to the effect that "we're coming at you and you'll explode in a couple minutes."
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