WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. officials said the USS Mahan Navy destroyer fired several warning shots after four Iranian vessels closed in at a high speed in the Strait of Hormuz.
The encounter occurred Sunday after the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard boats did not respond to the Mahan's radio request to stop. The Iranian ships sailed within a half-mile of the Mahan, which was escorting two U.S. ships, Fox News reported.
The Iranian ships approached the vessel at a high rate of speed five separate times, CNN reported.
The Mahan fired three warning flares, while a Navy helicopter also dropped a smoke float.
In late December, Iran warned the U.S. Navy not to approach its southern region amid a large-scale military exercise in which it successfully test-fired a long-range surface-to-air missile.
Iranian and U.S. ships often have tense encounters deemed "provocative" in waters off the coast of Iran, including the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, which are major trading routes.