In a major provocation, Iran shot down an unarmed and unmanned U.S. RQ-4A Global Hawk drone while it was flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, U.S. Central Command confirmed in a statement.
President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning that "Iran made a very big mistake."
A U.S. official confirmed to ABC News that the U.S. Navywas were working to recover the drone in a debris field the official said was located in international waters near the Strait of Hormuz.
The incident is sure to trigger serious discussions within the Trump administration about how to respond to a direct attack on a U.S. military asset that goes beyond recent attacks in the Middle East that the U.S. has blamed on Iran.
Mid-morning Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that President Trump has "been kept up to date" and was briefed both Thursday morning and Wednesday night. She said the White House would “keep in touch with members on the Hill.” There was a National Security Council meeting Thursday morning to discuss Iran, an administration official said, which Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford attended. Another White House meeting was to take place Thursday afternoon, which U.S. officials said Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would attend.
Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, offered a strongly worded threat to the U.S. after the drone was downed.
"Shooting down the American spy drone had a clear, decisive, firm and accurate message," he said, translated from Farsi. "The message is that the guardians of the borders of Islamic Iran will decisively respond to the violation of any stranger to this land. The only solution for the enemies is to respect the territorial integrity and national interests of Iran."
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