US President Donald Trump said that the USS Boxer downed an Iranian drone that came within 1,000 yards of the Navy ship and ignored "multiple calls to stand down" -- marking yet another escalation in the already tense situation playing out between Washington and Tehran.
Speaking at the White House on Thursday, Trump said the drone was "threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew" in the Strait of Hormuz and was "immediately destroyed."
The drone was destroyed using electronic jamming, according to a US defense official.
The crew of the Boxer took defensive action after the drone came within a threatening distance of the US ship, the official said.
"This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters," Trump added. "The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities and interest and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran's attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce."
He called on other countries to condemn Iran's action and protect their own vessels.
Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters at the United Nations in New York Thursday that "we have no information about losing a drone."
Relations between Iran and the United States have deteriorated since May 2018, when Washington chose to leave the 2015 nuclear deal the Iranian regime negotiated with world powers and reimpose crippling sanctions on Iran's economy.
The Pentagon released a statement about the drone downing shortly after Trump's comments.
"At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz. A fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range.
The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew," Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman wrote.
"We assess the UAS to be Iranian," Pentagon spokeswoman Cdr. Rebecca Rebarich told CNN.
BDST: 1230 HRS, JULY 19, 2019