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Iran fires ballistic missiles, targets dummy U.S. ship in war games

By
Don Jacobson
A photo from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shows an Iranian missile fired at a mock-up of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, off southern Iran, on Wednesday. Photo by SepahNews/EPA-EFE
A photo from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shows an Iranian missile fired at a mock-up of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, off southern Iran, on Wednesday. Photo by SepahNews/EPA-EFE

July 29 (UPI) -- Iran said it fired ballistic missiles and destroyed a mock-up of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz early Wednesday during a second day of drills.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Aerospace Force fired the missiles, hidden in camouflage, from deep underground sites as part of "The Great Prophet" war games in southern Iran, the semi-official Tasnim News Agency reported.

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State television called the missile drill an "important achievement" for Iran that could pose "serious challenges to enemy intelligence organizations."

Iranian forces used combat drones to target the dummy U.S. warship, which some saw as a warning to U.S. forces in the region. The ship resembled the 980-foot-long USS Nimitz, only 300 feet shorter.

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The vessel carried 16 fighter jet replicas on its deck, satellite photos showed, and was similar to a target Iran used in drills five years ago. Then, Iranian troops fired machine guns and rockets from speedboats and eventually sank the ship with a surface-to-sea missile.

Military drills also included Iranian Sukhoi-22 fighter jets firing "smart bombs" at targets on Farur Island in the Persian Gulf, and a mock missile combat operation.

The war games prompted two U.S. military bases in the region -- the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates and the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar -- to move temporarily to a heightened alert.

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Tensions between Tehran and the United States have steadily risen under the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. The administration withdrew from the landmark nuclear deal two years ago and the governments sparred after the U.S. killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq in January.

Iran retaliated with missile strikes on two U.S. bases in Iraq. More than 100 U.S. troops were injured in the attacks and suffered concussion-like effects.

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