Northrop Grumman Triton spy drone
Iran's Revolutionary Guards claimed Thursday they shot down a US drone in the southern province of Hormozgan.

State news agency IRNA quoted the Guard's news website, Sepah News, as saying that the Islamic country's military force targeted the RQ-4 Global Hawk drone when it entered Iran's airspace "near the Kouhmobarak district in the south."

General Hossein Salami, the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, said the incident sent "a clear message" to the US, adding that Iran does "not have any intention for war with any country, but we are ready for war."

Responding swiftly to the Iranian claim, the US military said it had not violated Iranian airspace on Wednesday.

"No US aircraft were operating in Iranian airspace today," said Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for the US military's Central Command.

Later, a US official told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity that an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a US drone "flying in international airspace" over the Strait of Hormuz.

Central Command subsequently released a statement confirming that an RQ-4 Global Hawk maritime surveillance drone had been "shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz."

It said, "Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false" and called the incident "an unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset in international airspace."

Addressing the dowing of the drone, US President Donald Trump tweeted, "Iran made a very big mistake."

Last week the US confirmed a previous Iranian attempt to shoot down one of its drones.

Rising tensions

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have escalated over the past month, with the US accusing Iran of continued malign activity and unspecified threats against the United States and its allies. Washington has also increased its military presence in the region.

The US accused Iran last week of attacking Japanese and Norwegian flagged tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Washington released video and pictures purporting to show a Revolutionary Guard boat removing an unexploded limpet mine.

Iranian officials rejected US claims that Tehran was behind the blasts.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday there was "strong evidence" Iran was behind the twin tanker attacks.