|United States drone.|
The drone was in international airspace east of Kuwait, U.S. officials said, adding it was engaged in routine maritime surveillance. Although the drone was not hit, the Pentagon is concerned. Two U.S. officials explained the jets were part of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps force, which has been more confrontational than regular Iranian military forces. The Obama administration did not disclose the incident, which occurred just days before the presidential election on November 1, but three senior officials confirmed the details to CNN. The officials declined to be identified because of sensitive intelligence matters surrounding the matter. The drone's still and video cameras captured the incident showing two SU-25s approaching the Predator and firing its onboard guns.WATCH: Iranian jets fire on U.S. drone.
The Iranian pilots continued to fire shots that went beneath the Predator but were never successful in hitting it, according to the officials. U.S. military intelligence analysts are still not sure if the Iranian pilots simply were unable to hit the drone due to lack of combat skill, or whether they deliberately were missing and had no intention of bringing down the drone. But as one of the officials said, "it doesn't matter, they fired on us." The official confirmed the United States protested the incident but has not heard back from Iran. Iran has, at times, been confrontational in the region. In January, the U.S. military and coast guard had close encounters with Iranian Navy vessels which approached at high speeds and exhibited provocative behavior.
Meanwhile, Iran's official news agency says the country's military will hold "massive" air defense maneuvers in the east, starting this weekend.
TEHRAN, IRAN - Gen. Farzad Esmaili, head of Iran's air defense headquarters, says the drill will include Iranian jet fighters, drones, air defense systems and about 8,000 troops. Esmaili is quoted by the official IRNA news agency on Thursday as saying that the area of the war games will cover nearly the entire eastern half of Iran. The exercise is to start on Saturday and last seven days. The maneuvers come amid escalating tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran's suspect nuclear program, which the West fears is a cover for a pursuit of nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge, saying the program is for peaceful purposes only. - FOX News.