US pleas self-defense for shooting at Dubai's boat
Lieutenant Greg Raelson, a spokesman for the US navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said sailors aboard the USNS Rappahannock opened fire on the boat after it ignored warnings. "The firing has led to the death of one Indian national and serious injury of three Indian nationals," Tarek al-Hedan, an aide to the foreign minister for political affairs, said. "The services concerned are now investigating this incident," he said.
"US ships have an inherent right to self defence against potential threats. The safety of our vessels and our personnel is of the utmost priority," he said to Al Jazeera, in an email response to a query. Navy officials said while talking to a online news portal that the crew first tried to hail the vessel via radio and on loudspeaker, as well as by flashing lights and firing warning shots. They then shot at the boat with a 50 caliber weapon. Dozens of police and other Emirati officials crowded around the boat after it docked following the incident at a small Dubai port used by fishermen and sailors.
The boat was removed from the port shortly afterwards. Rescue workers were seen carrying one person in a body bag off the white-hulled boat and placing it in an ambulance as fishermen looked on, the Associated Press news agency reported. Similar boats are used for fishing in the region, though Iran's Revolutionary Guard also employs relatively small, fast-moving craft in the Gulf.
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