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U.S. Shoots Down Drone Launched By Iran-Backed Hizballah Forces In Syria

A drone that U.S. officials say was likely provided by Iran to Hizballah forces in southern Syria fired on troops allied with the United States on June 8 and was shot down by an American fighter jet.

U.S. defense officials said the weapon fired by the drone did not detonate and no one was hurt. But Army Colonel Ryan Dillon said it posed a direct threat to U.S. troops and local forces training to fight Islamic State in the region around Tanf near the Jordan border.

The drone attack appeared to make good on a Hizballah threat to strike American forces and came just hours after the U.S. bombed Syrian government and allied troops inside a protected zone in the area.

Officials said the drone was about the size of a Predator and was likely provided by Iran. It fired on U.S. allied forces that were on a routine patrol outside of the protected zone, Dillon said.

Officials said the drone attack may have been in response to the coalition's bombing of the Syrian government and allied troops several hours earlier. It was the third time the U.S.-led coalition has bombed troops in the protected zone.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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