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article imageIran says it shot down U.S. drone in eastern province

By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 4, 2011 in World
Tehran - Iran's state television Al Alam, reported on Sunday that the Iranian military shot down a U.S. reconnaissance drone that violated its airspace. The report said, "Iran's military has downed an intruding RQ-170 American drone in eastern Iran."
The Iranian Fars news agency also corroborated the report by Al Alam, saying that the plane is now in the possession of Iran's armed forces.
According to the report by Fars, the drone was brought down in a joint action by Iran's army, air defense forces and its electronic warfare unit, after it "briefly" violated the country's airspace at the eastern borders.
Al Jazeera, quoting Fars news agency, said the drone was "downed with slight damage. It is now under the control of our forces."
Iranian military sources warned that Iran's response to foreign aggression will "not be limited to our country's borders." Reuters reports Iran had earlier, in its face off with the U.S. over its alleged nuclear weapons program, threatened that it would respond to aggression by attack on U.S. interests in the Gulf and Israel. Analysts take this to mean that Iran would launch hit-and-run strikes in the Gulf, and close the Strait of Hormuz through which about 40 percent of oil traded in the Gulf region leaves.
Al Jazeera, however, said it was not able to independently verify the news and U.S. authorities have not confirmed the report.
Al Jazeera reports this is not the first time Iran is announcing that it has brought down unmanned U.S. spy planes. In January, Iran's military claimed it brought down two U.S. drones that violated its airspace. The Iranian authorities said they would display the drones in public but did not do so. In June, commander of the Guard's aerospace unit Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, announced that Iran had allowed Russian experts examine the U.S. drones.The army chief claimed that,
"Russian experts requested to see these drones and they looked at both the downed drones and the models made by the Guards through reverse engineering."
Also, in July, Iran claimed it shot down a U.S. spy plane over the holy city of Qom, close to its Fordu nuclear site.
The U.S. has used unmanned aircraft for several strike operations in the region. They have used them to launch missile strikes in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The announcement by Iran that it has brought down a U.S. military aircraft comes in the middle of a diplomatic row with Britain after storming of the British embassy in Tehran on Tuesday. Britain in reaction evacuated its diplomatic staff from Iran and expelled Iranian diplomats in London. Several EU member states also recalled their ambassadors following the incident.
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