Jennifer Griffin, Fox News
According to a senior US defense official, an Iranian missile boat pointed a laser at a US Marine helicopter while two Navy warships and a cargo ship were transiting out of the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz. The laser triggered a response and the US helicopter automatically fired off flares toward the offending vessel.
The Iranian vessel came within 800 yards of the US warships.
This incident comes just days after the US F15 shot down an Iranian drone in southern Syria after it fired on US backed forces at a training camp near Al Tanf near the border with Jordan.
Here is a statement from the US Navy’s 5th fleet:
The following is on the on the record by name, Cmdr. Bill Urban as a U.S.
Fifth Fleet spokesman.
“Three U.S. Naval ships and a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter had an unsafe and unprofessional interaction with an Iranian Navy vessel while transiting the international waters of the Strait of Hormuz, June 13.
The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) and dry cargo ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE-11) were transiting the strait when the Iranian vessel paralleled the U.S. formation, shining a spotlight on Cole. Shortly thereafter, the Iranian vessel trained a laser on a CH-53E helicopter that accompanied the formation. The Iranian vessel then proceeded to turn its spotlight on Bataan, scanning the ship from bow to stern and stern to bow before heading outbound from the formation.
During the interaction, the Iranian vessel came within 800 yards of Bataan.
Naval Forces Central Command assesses this interaction as unsafe and unprofessional due to the Iranian vessel shining a laser on one of the formation’s helicopters. Illuminating helicopters with lasers at night is dangerous as it creates a navigational hazard that can impair vision and can be disorienting to pilots using night vision goggles.”
CDR Bill Urban, Public Affairs Officer