Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched missiles Tuesday targeting a mock aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a drill that included such a barrage of fire the US military temporarily put two regional bases in the Mideast on alert amid tensions between the two countries, the AP reports. "While we are always watchful of this type of irresponsible and reckless behavior by Iran in the vicinity of busy international waterways, this exercise has not disrupted coalition operations in the area nor had any impacts to the free flow of commerce in the Strait of Hormuz and surrounding waters," says a US Navy spokesperson, who said the Iranian exercise was "attempting to intimidate and coerce." The drill—and the American response to it—underlined the lingering threat of military conflict between Iran and the US after a series of escalating incidents.
Iranian commandos fast-roped down from a helicopter onto the replica in the footage aired Tuesday from the exercise called “Great Prophet 14." Anti-aircraft guns opened fire on a target drone near the port city of Bandar Abbas. State television footage also showed a variety of missiles being fired from fast boats, trucks, mobile launchers, and a helicopter, some targeting the fake carrier. A commander said the Guard, a force answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, planned to fire “long-range ballistic missiles” as well during the drill that will continue Wednesday. Ballistic missile fire detected from the drill resulted in American troops being put on alert at Al-Dhafra Air Base in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and Al-Udeid Air Base, the forward headquarters of the US military's Central Command in Qatar, the military said. Troops sought cover during that time. (Much more at the AP.)