Iranian naval vessel trains laser on helicopter in the Strait of Hormuz

An Iranian missile boat pointed a laser at a U.S. Marine helicopter while two Navy warships and a cargo ship were transiting out of the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, a senior US defense official said.

The laser triggered a response and the U.S. helicopter automatically fired off flares toward the offending vessel.

The Iranian vessel came within 800 yards of the U.S. warships.

Cdr. Bill Urban in a statement called the interaction "unsafe and unprofessional."

"Illuminating helicopters with lasers at night is dangerous as it creates a navigational hazard that can impair vision and can be disorienting to pilots using night vision goggles," Urban said.

This incident comes just days after a U.S. F-15 shot down an Iranian drone in southern Syria after it fired on U.S.-backed forces at a training camp near Al Tanf near the border with Jordan.