Report: Iran captures U.S. drone over its airspace
Iranian media reports the ScanEagle drone was captured by Iran's naval unit; U.S. Navy says no American drones missing in the Middle East.
Iran has captured a United States drone flying in the country's airspace, its state media reported on Tuesday.
The ScanEagle drone was gathering information over Persian Gulf waters and had entered Iranian airspace, when it was captured by the naval unit of the Revolutionary Guards force, the Fars news agency reported.
The Guard's navy chief, Gen. Ali Fadavi, said that the "intruding" drone was captured, but gave no further details on the location or when the incident occurred.
Cmdr. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, says all U.S. drones in the region are "fully accounted for." He also cast doubt on Iranian claims Tuesday that the ScanEagle drone entered Iranian airspace, saying U.S. operations in the Persian Gulf are "confined to internationally recognized water and airspace" .
Last month the U.S. said Iranian warplanes shot at a U.S. surveillance drone flying in international airspace. Iran said the aircraft had entered its airspace. A Pentagon spokesperson said the pilotless aircraft was in international airspace over the Persian Gulf and returned to base unharmed.
Last December, a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone equipped with stealth technology was captured in eastern Iran. Tehran claimed it brought down the CIA spy drone after it entered Iranian airspace from its eastern border with Afghanistan and Pakistan, but U.S. officials said the drone malfunctioned and had to land.
The ScanEagle is manufactured by Boeing Co. According to the firm's website, the drone is four feet long and has a 10-foot (three-meter) wingspan.