US Navy insists it had no option after killing 'fisherman' in Gulf
Tensions and patrols rise as ship opens fire on small boat said to have ignored warnings
Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).
Tuesday 17 July 2012
One man was killed and three others were injured after a US Navy ship in the Persian Gulf opened fire as it was approached by what appeared to have been a fishing boat last night.
The ship is part of the Fifth Fleet, which has increased its patrols in the Gulf region because of heightened tensions with Iran. Both the US and Iran have warned each other against provocative naval activity in the Straits of Hormuz, which is a crucial supply line for oil shipping at the entrance to the Gulf.
The US Navy said a small motorised boat ignored several warnings to halt its advance in waters some 30 miles south-west of Dubai before a security team aboard the Fleet's supply vessel Rappahannock fired rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun.
The official Navy response did not speculate on the reasons for what it said had been the small vessel's disregard of its warnings – including warning shots – or whether its crew could have mistaken the vessel for an Iranian military one.
Associated Press reported from Dubai that the small vessel, a white-hulled civilian craft about 30-feet long had docked after the incident in a Dubai fishing port and that dozens of police officers and Emirates officials had crowded round it. Iran's Revolutionary Guard is known to use small but fast-moving vessels in the Gulf.
A spokesman for the Fifth Fleet told the New York Times last night that the incident was being investigated and added: "In accordance with Navy force protection procedures, the sailors on the United States Navy supply ship used a series of non-lethal, pre-planned responses to warn the vessel before resorting to lethal force."
On Sunday, Iran repeated its threats to close the Straits of Hormuz, through which 40 per cent of maritime oil exports pass, unless the sanctions imposed as a result of Iran's nuclear programme are revoked.
The US military has stepped up its presence in the region with additional fighter jets, deploying a floating naval base as well as doubling the number of minesweepers in recent months. Before yesterday's incident the Pentagon announced it was speeding up – by about four months – the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group to the region, while insisting that it was not doing so solely because of tensions with Iran.
"This is about a wide-range of US security interests in the region," Pentagon spokesman George Little said.
Kensington flat branded ‘uninhabitable’ by estate agent on sale for a bargain £600,000
Gun instructor accidentally shot dead by nine-year-old girl with Uzi gun
Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
The 13 obscure UK laws you didn’t know you were breaking
- 1 Gun instructor accidentally shot dead by nine-year-old girl with Uzi gun
- 2 Miley Cyrus' homeless MTV VMAs date, Jesse Helt, is wanted by the police
- 5 Homer Simpson has taken the ALS ice bucket challenge because of course he has
- < Previous
- Next >
£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...
£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...