(FoxNews.com) In the latest incident of high-seas tension between the U.S. and Iran, a Navy guided-missile destroyer fired a series of warning shots at four Iranian vessels after the Islamic Republic’s boats closed in at a high rate of speed in the Strait of Hormuz, Fox News confirmed on Monday.
The USS Mahan tried to order the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard boats to stop via bridge-to-bridge radio communication, but the vessels didn’t respond to the request, prompting the destroyer to fire three warning shots with a .50 caliber machine gun Sunday morning, a U.S. defense official said. After the shots were fired, the Iranian boats stopped the approach, Cmdr. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, told Fox News.
The Iranian vessels sailed within 890 yards of the Mahan, which had been escorting two U.S. Navy warships. Those two ships were the USS Makin Island, a large deck amphibious assault ship with 1,000 U.S. Marines, dozens of helicopters and Marine Harrier jets aboard, and a U.S. Navy oiler.
In addition to the machine gun warning shots, a Navy helicopter dropped a smoke float. The only communication between the Iranian vessels and the U.S. warships was one Iranian boat asking for the “hull number” of the U.S. Navy vessels.