WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he has instructed the U.S. Navy to destroy Iranian gunboats if they harass American vessels at sea.
"I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea," Trump tweeted.
Video surfaced last week showing small Iranian fast boats coming close to American warships as they operated in the northern Persian Gulf near Kuwait, the Associated Press reported.
According to a FOX News report, six American vessels were conducting drills with Army Apache attack helicopters in international waters off Iran last Wednesday.
A statement from the Navy's 5th Fleet said U.S. crews issued several multiple warnings via radio, including five short blasts from the ships’ horns and long-grange acoustic noise maker devices, but received no response from the Iranians.
Tensions receded after an hour when Iranian vessels maneuvered away, the Navy said.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard acknowledged it had a tense encounter with U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, but alleged without offering evidence that American forces sparked the incident.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Atlanta.