A U.S. patrol ship fired warning shots at an Iranian boat in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday after it came startlingly close to to the vessel.
The USS Thunderbolt, a Cyclone class patrol ship, was forced to fire warning shots from its .50 caliber machine gun after the Iranian boat closed to 150 yards, ignoring radio calls and warning flares along the way, according to Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson.
The Thunderbolt fired five short bursts into the water due to concerns that there may be a collision, according to a CNN report. The ship ceased its actions but stayed in the area for several hours.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces are believed to have operated the vessel. The IRGC is Iran’s paramilitary wing that is known to have close ties to the country’s extremist, conservative theocratic leadership. It is primarily responsible for Iran’s operation in the Persian Gulf area and is known to act with hostility toward U.S. forces.
Encounters with Iranian vessels have become commonplace for U.S. forces patrolling in the Persian Gulf.
“Unfortunately, par for the course with Iran,” said Michael Singh, former senior director at the National Security Council and current managing director at the Washington Institute, in a tweet Tuesday.
Similar close encounters with Iranian vessels have taken an upswing in recent months, but Tuesday’s confrontation was one of the closer calls.
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