Iran threatens to shoot down US aircraft near its airspace

Iran is threatening to down “rabid” US aircraft flying near its airspace. 

Iran’s state-owned Arabic language TV station al-Alam reported that the country’s air defense base sent two warnings in the last six months to US spy aircraft that approached Iranian airspace.

The TV’s website quoted the country’s chief of air defense, Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili, as saying Iran warned a U2 reconnaissance aircraft on March 21. He did not mention the location.

He also said the country’s air defense warned an American drone on Aug. 26.

“We do not allow such rabid aircrafts to enter our territory and if necessary, will not hesitate to destroy them,” Esmaili ominously stated.

Iran has repeatedly announced such activities over the past few years to demonstrate the capabilities of its armed forces.

US forces operating in the Persian Gulf almost routinely have clashes with Iranian forces.

In August, an Iranian drone shadowed a US aircraft carrier at night and came close enough to F-18 fighter jets to put the lives of American pilots at risk.

So far this year, the Navy has recorded 14 instances of what it describes as “unsafe and/or unprofessional” interactions with Iranians forces. It recorded 35 in 2016 and 23 in 2015.

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Iranian forces view the American presence in the Gulf as a provocation in and of itself. They in turn have accused the US Navy of unprofessional behavior, especially in the Strait of Hormuz, the mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a third of all oil trade by sea passes.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff