LONDON: Long-range Iranian missiles rained down dangerously close to a commercial ship in the Indian Ocean on Saturday and 100 miles from the US Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group, Fox News reported.
US officials, who wished to remain anonymous, said that at least one of the missiles landed 20 miles from the commercial vessel.
At least two other Iranian ballistic missiles exploded on impact when they hit the ocean, about 100 miles away from the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group.
Shards of debris flew in all directions on impact, the US news channel said.
“We were expecting the missile launch,” an official told Fox News, but there was concern about just how close Iran was willing to push its limits.
Nimitz has remained in the northern Arabian Sea on the orders of outgoing President Donald Trump.
The Pentagon changed its mind and ordered the Nimitz to turn around and remain in the region earlier this month after it left the Arabian Gulf and was due to return home.
“Due to the recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other US government officials, I have ordered the USS Nimitz to halt its routine redeployment,” Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said on January 3.
“The USS Nimitz will now remain on station in the US Central Command area of operations.”
January 3 marked the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The Islamic Republic has vowed to avenge the general’s death.