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Pentagon spokesman George Little confirmed that Iran fired multiple shots on an unarmed and unmanned US surveillance drone last week.
Pentagon spokesman George Little confirmed to Reuters that Iran fired multiple shots on an unarmed and unmanned US surveillance drone last week. Little added that the aircraft was unharmed and returned safely to its base. The Obama administration did not acknowledge the incident, which occurred mere days before the presidential election.
Little additionally told the Associated Press that the drone was performing "routine surveillance" and was about 16 miles off the Iranian coast when the Iranian SU-25 warplane intercepted it and fired at it. According to Little, this was the first time an unmanned US aircraft was shot at in international airspace over the Gulf.
The drone's cameras, including video and stills, captured the incident showing two SU-25s approaching and firing its onboard guns, CNN reported.
Military intelligence analysts told CNN that they are still not sure if the Iranian pilots missed the drone out of lack of combat skill, or whether they deliberately were missing. One of the officials noted, "it doesn't matter, they fired on us."
Little told the AP that the United States informed Iran that they will continue to conduct such surveillance flights in the region and that the military would protect its assets.
For more on drones visit our in-depth series, The Drone Wars.