Pentagon: Iranian plane pursued US spy drone

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Associated Press

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 14 at 2:04 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says an Iranian fighter jet approached a U.S. surveillance drone over the Persian Gulf but broke off its pursuit after the pilot of a U.S. escort plane radioed a verbal warning.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said Thursday the incident occurred Tuesday and that the unarmed Predator surveillance drone as well as two U.S. military escort planes remained over international waters at all times.

Little said the drone was conducting a "routine classified" surveillance mission.

He said the Iranian F-4 plane came as close as 16 miles to the drone before it departed.

Little initially said a U.S. escort plane discharged a flare to warn the Iranian pilot. He later retracted that, saying instead that the Iranian plane broke off its pursuit after receiving a U.S. "verbal warning."

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