Saudi Arabia says it forced three Iranian boats out of its waters with warning shots

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Saudi Arabia forced three Iranian boats out of its waters on Thursday after firing warning shots, the Kingdom’s border guards said on Saturday.

The official spokesperson of Saudi Arabia’s boarder guard said: “On Thursday, Maritime Border Guard patrols detected three Iranian boats that entered Saudi waters. They were immediately followed, and repeated warnings were issued for them to stop, but they refused to respond,” state news agency SPA reported.

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“According to protocols for such cases where the (trespassing party) refuses to stop, warning shots were fired, which resulted in them being forced to retreat,” the spokesman said.

The Saudi official stressed that the border guard will never allow any transgressions in the Kingdom’s waters.

Maritime tensions in the Gulf

There have been many incidents in recent months when Iranian vessels have come close to US Navy and coast guard ships in the Gulf, with Washington describing the incidents as "dangerous and provocative."

Iran also recently issued a statement claiming it was ready to destroy US warships if they threatened Iranian ships.

In 2019, tensions in the region's waters hightened after a series of attacks on oil tankers. One of those involved two Saudi oil tankers which where attacked in the Gulf. The US and Saudi Arabia blamed Iran, while Tehran denied the charge.

In June 2019, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he discussed with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz the need to promote maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz.

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