US aircraft targeted with lasers in Djibouti

US pilots suffered eye injuries after being targeted from area where Chinese military base is located, Pentagon says

US aircraft targeted with lasers in Djibouti

World Bulletin / News Desk

U.S. aircraft flying over Djibouti have been targeted in the last few weeks with lasers directed from an area where a Chinese military base is located, causing minor injuries to American pilots, the Pentagon said Thursday.

“They are very serious incidents. There have been two minor injuries," Pentagon spokesperson Dana White told reporters at a daily news briefing.

"This activity poses a threat to our airmen," she added.

White said the U.S. is confident that Chinese nationals are responsible for the use of the lasers and added that a formal complaint has been issued to China over the incident.

Earlier in the day, Pentagon officials told local media that two American pilots on a C-130 cargo plane had suffered eye injuries after being targeted by a laser. 

Asked about the Pentagon's reaction to China's installation of surface-to-air missile systems on three of its outposts in the South China Sea, White noted that Washington has voiced concerns about China's militarization of artificial islands.

"We will continue to do our operations and ensure that the Chinese understand that they cannot, and should not, be hostile and understand that the Pacific is a place in which much commerce goes through," she said.

White also said that U.S. planes have been exposed to laser harassment for a long time, but the number of incidents has increased in the last few weeks.

Additionally, when asked whether escalating tensions between Iran and Israel are a source of concern for the Pentagon, she said It concerns the U.S., as Iran continues to be a “malign influence” that “destabilizes the region” through its proxies.

"That is our concern. Wherever Iran is, chaos follows. And so therefore, in Syria, it is a complex battle space. And what Iran continues to do will continue to be a concern," she said.

While emphasizing that the U.S. and its coalition partners always reserve the right of self-defense, she said their main goal is the lasting defeat of Daesh. 

 
Last Mod: 04 Mayıs 2018, 10:27
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