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Iraq says it shot down U.S. drone

Iraq has stepped up efforts lately to target drones, Pentagon officials say.
Iraq has stepped up efforts lately to target drones, Pentagon officials say.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iraqi government officials claimed responsibility for downing a U.S. aerial drone over southern Iraq on Monday.

The Iraqi News Agency quoted a defense spokesman, who said the drone was fired on by a ground-based anti-aircraft installation and Iraqi planes.

The unmanned Predator was reported missing at 7:30 a.m. EST "after being fired upon by Iraqi military aircraft," Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday.

"They got a lucky shot today, and they brought down the Predator," he said.

The move does not represent an escalation of hostilities, Myers said. Two other Predators have been shot down over southern Iraq, he said. "They attempt to shoot down all our aircraft."

Officials said the drone was performing a reconnaissance mission when it disappeared from radar.

The drone operates at an altitude as high as 26,000 feet, has a range of 400 nautical miles and can stay aloft 24 hours.

For the past few weeks, the Iraqis have stepped up their efforts to target the drones, Pentagon sources said.



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