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Iran holds military drill near UAE airbase where Indian Rafales are on halt

The drills, named Prophet Mohammed 14th, were broadcast on state television. Footage showed a helicopter firing a missile at the replica, complete with 16 fake fighter jets on board

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | July 29, 2020 | Updated 09:10 IST
Iran holds military drill near UAE airbase where Indian Rafales are on halt
Image courtesy: sephanews

Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Tuesday launched a military drill closed to Al Dhafra in UAE and Al Udeid in Qatar. The two bases in the Middle East, housing US troops and French troops, went on high alert when three Iranian missiles dropped in the waters near the bases.

According to a Fox News reporter, "Two bases in Middle East housing U.S. troops and aircraft went on high alert when 3 Iranian missiles splashed down in waters near the bases".

Incidentally, India's five Rafale jets were parked at the Al Dhafra airbase at that time. The Rafales began their journey from the Merignac airbase in the French port city of Bordeaux on Monday. They will be inducted into the Indian Air Force's No 17 Squadron, also known as the 'Golden Arrows'. The five Rafale fighter aircraft are expected to take off from UAE at around 11 am IST and reach Ambala by 2 pm on Wednesday.

BBC reported that the US Navy has condemned the "irresponsible and reckless behaviour by Iran", labelling it an attempt "to intimidate and coerce". It mentioned that troops in Al Dhafra base in the UAE were asked to stay in bunkers as a result of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) drill and missile tests.

The drills, named Prophet Mohammed 14th, were broadcast on state television. Footage showed a helicopter firing a missile at the replica, complete with 16 fake fighter jets on board.  Iranian troops also fired anti-aircraft batteries as a drone target near the port city of Bandar Abbas.  The replica resembles the Nimitz-class carriers that the US Navy routinely sails into the Persian Gulf from the Strait of Hormuz.

Commander Rebecca Rebarich, spokeswoman for the US Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, said that the US military was "always watchful of this type of irresponsible and reckless behaviour by Iran in the vicinity of busy international waterways".

There have been periodic confrontations in the Gulf in recent years between the Guards and the US military, which has accused the Guards navy of sending fast-attack boats to harass US warships as they pass the Strait of Hormuz.

Tensions have spiked between Iran and the United States since 2018 when US President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with six powers. Trump also reimposed sanctions that have sharply lowered Tehran's oil exports.

The Guards in April said Tehran would destroy US warships if Iran's security is threatened in the Gulf.

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