iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The crew of an Iranian small craft aimed a weapon at a U.S. Navy helicopter in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday in an encounter a U.S. Defense Department official called “unsafe and unprofessional.”
The official, who spoke to ABC News on the condition of anonymity, said the incident occurred during the daytime hours on Saturday as the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Eisenhower was moving through the Strait of Hormuz to exit the Persian Gulf.
The carrier detected two small boats located about nine miles away as it cruised through the narrow strait. Small craft from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGC-N) routinely harass American warships when they are in the Persian Gulf or in the Strait of Hormuz.
An SH-60 Seahawk helicopter aboard the carrier was launched to get a better identification of the vessels.
The helicopter was a half-mile away from the small boats when a crew member on one of the boars was spotted loading a weapon, the official said.
About five minutes later, that same weapon was trained at the helicopter at which point the helicopter turned away from the area to return to the carrier, the official noted.
The official described the encounter with the IRGC-N craft as provocative in nature.
The official stressed that at no time did the helicopter crew feel they were in any danger.
The two small IRGC-N vessels did not get any closer than a mile to the aircraft carrier during its transit through the strait.
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