In a statement on its website, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said an RQ-4 Global Hawk type drone was shot down after entering Iranian airspace in the country's south. US military says it had no drone over Iranian territory.

File photo shows a RQ-4 Global Hawk drone belonging to the US military.
File photo shows a RQ-4 Global Hawk drone belonging to the US military. (Reuters Archive)

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced on Thursday that it had downed a US surveillance drone.

In a statement on its website, it was said an RQ-4 Global Hawk type drone was shot down after entering Iranian airspace in the country's south.

A US official who spoke on condition of anonymity told ABC News Thursday that Iran had shot down a US military drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

Later during the day, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard said that while Iran has no intention of war with anyone, it's "ready for war."

Tensions have been rising between the US and Iran since last year, when the US unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

Iran recently has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium and threatened to boost its enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels, trying to pressure Europe for new terms to the 2015 deal.

Earlier, Capt. Bill Urban, a US Central Command spokesman, declined to comment when asked if an American drone was shot down.

However, he told The Associated Press: "There was no drone over Iranian territory."

The reported shootdown of the RQ-4 Global Hawk comes after the US military previously alleged Iran fired a missile at another drone last week that responded to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The US blames Iran for the attack on the ships, which Tehran denies.

The White House separately said it was aware of reports of a missile strike on Saudi Arabia amid a campaign targeting the kingdom by Yemen's Iranian-allied Houthi rebels.

In recent weeks, the US has sped an aircraft carrier to the Mideast and deployed additional troops to the tens of thousands already in the region.

Mysterious attacks also have targeted oil tankers as Iranian-allied Houthi rebels launched bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia.

Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot down the drone Thursday morning when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran's Hormozgan province.

Kouhmobarak is some 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) southeast of Tehran and is close to the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency, citing the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, identified the drone as an RQ-4 Global Hawk.

Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump had been "briefed on the reports of a missile strike in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

"We are closely monitoring the situation and continuing to consult with our partners and allies," Sanders said.

The Houthi's Al Masirah satellite news channel claimed the rebels targeted a power plant in Jizan, near the kingdom's border with Yemen, with a cruise missile. Saudi state media and officials did not immediately report a missile strike Thursday.

The conflict in Yemen dates back to 2014, when tens of thousands Yemenis took to the streets of the capital Sanaa, calling on the government to resign following a decision to cut fuel subsidies. 

Taking advantage of the unrest, Iran-aligned Houthis toppled President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi as they advanced to Sanaa from their stronghold Sadaa. 

A Saudi-led intervention in the conflict and a partial blockade imposed in 2015 have resulted in what the United Nations calls the world's worst man-made humanitarian disaster in a country that was already struggling with years of instability and where almost half of its population was living below the poverty line. 

The resulting conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and pushed the already impoverished country to the brink of famine.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies