US military claims Iran tried to 'shoot down drone' that was observing attacks on oil tankers

TOPSHOT - A picture obtained by AFP from Iranian News Agency ISNA on June 13, 2019 reportedly shows fire and smoke billowing from Norwegian owned Front Altair tanker said to have been attacked in the waters of the Gulf of Oman. - Suspected attacks left two tankers in flames in the waters of the Gulf of Oman today, sending world oil prices soaring as Iran helped rescue stricken crew members. The mystery incident, the second involving shipping in the strategic sea lane in only a few weeks, came amid spiralling tensions between Tehran and Washington, which has pointed the finger at Iran over earlier tanker attacks in May. (Photo by - / ISNA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
The US military has accused Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops of trying to shoot down a US drone to disrupt surveillance during suspected attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

The US has accused Iran of trying to shoot down a US drone to prevent surveillance during suspected attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

A US Central Command spokesman said Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops had fired a modified surface-to-air missile to try to bring down a drone that had been observing the Front Altair and Kokuka Courageous tankers.

The international community has blamed Iran for attacks on the tankers, with the US military claiming that video footage shows Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops removing an unexploded mine from the Kokuka Courageous.

Esta imagen del 13 de junio de 2019, publicada por el Comando Central del ejército de Estados Unidos, muestra daños (a la izquierda del casco) y una presunta mina (a la derecha) en el buque Kokuka Courageous en el Golfo de Omán, cerca de la costa de Irán. (Comando Central de Estados Unidos vía AP)
The US has claimed that footage shows Iranian troops removing a limpet mine from one of the tankers (Picture: AP)

Crew members from the Norwegian-owned Front Altair landed in Dubai on Saturday after two days in Iran.

The other tanker is now anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

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Iran has rejected allegations, accusing the US of pursuing an "Iranophobic" campaign against it.

Tensions have been rising between the US and Iran - Donald Trump withdrew America from the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran reached with world powers and recently imposed a series of sanctions.

Iran’s leaders have repeatedly threatened to close the vital Strait of Hormuz, through which 20% of the world's oil flows.

Four other oil tankers off Fujairah have suffered similar attacks in recent weeks, and Iranian-allied rebels from Yemen have hit US ally Saudi Arabia with drones and missiles.

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