Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Iranian boat shines laser at US aircraft in Strait of Hormuz

Iranian boat shines laser at US aircraft in Strait of Hormuz

An Iranian navy vessel conducted an "unsafe and unprofessional" interaction with US ships by pointing a laser at an accompanying Marine Corps helicopter, the US Navy said Wednesday.

The Strait of Hormuz is the vital narrow body of water that separates the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban says the Iranian vessel also turned its spotlight on two Navy ships that were moving through the strait on Tuesday.

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According to a U.S. military statement, the vessel used an on-board laser against a U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E helicopter, moving above a trio of U.S. naval ships, transiting the global waters of the Strait of Hormuz.

Urban said the Iranian vessel shined a spotlight on the Cole while it paralleled the USA formation.

The laser targeting led the Marine helicopter to automatically discharge flares as a defensive measure said a USA official. The Iranian boat shined a spotlight on two of the ships, the USS Bataan, an amphibious assault.

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Urban explained that illuminating helicopters with lasers at night is unsafe because it creates a navigational hazard that can impair vision and disorient pilots who are using night-vision goggles.

This incident comes just days after a U.S. F-15 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.

The incident was first reported by CBS News, which said two other incidents considered unsafe by USA military officials have occurred since March.

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One of the patrol boats traveled within 900 yards of the Mahan with a sailor manning its main gun, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said at the time.

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