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Trump says that the US Navy has been told to “shoot down and destroy” any aggressive Iranian ship

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President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that the US Navy has been instructed to “shoot down and destroy” any Iranian gunboat that harasses American ships, responding to a report that Iranian boats swarmed US ships last week. According to photos and a video released by the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, as six US Navy warships conducted drills with US Army Apache attack helicopters in the international waters off Iran last Wednesday, 11 Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Navy vessels made numerous “dangerous and harassing approaches” near the US ships. The Iranian boats swarmed the Navy ships for an hour, repeatedly crossing in front of and behind the US vessels at extremely high speeds and close ranges, getting as close as 10 yards of a US ship, the 5th Fleet reported. Responding to these actions, President Trump tweeted, “I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.” ~

These precautionary actions by President Trump is just the latest event in an increasingly tense relationship between the US and Iran. In early January, the US military killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani – who was the head of Iran’s elite Quds military force, a terrorist under American law as of 2011, and one of the most powerful figures in Iran and the Islamic Republic. According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Soleimani’s killing was in response to the general reportedly plotting actions that “would have put dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk,” as well as a Hezollah and PMF attack on the American embassy in Iraq and the death of a US civilian contractor by a Hezbollah-launched rocket earlier that month. Iran responded by launching more than a dozen missiles at two Iraqui air bases hosting American and coalition troops. Although the attack resulted in zero casualties, 100 service members were left with brain injuries, according to Military.com. ~

After reports surfaced earlier this month that Iran may be planning a sneak attack on US ships, President Trump stated that any Iranian attack will be met with an aggressive retaliation: “If this happens, Iran will pay a very heavy price, indeed!” ~

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