Seated on the floor of a villa in northeast Tehran around a tablecloth spread with platters of saffron chicken and rice with barberries, about 30 officials of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and guests gathered Thursday night for a prayerful celebration. "A special blessing for the commander who ordered the attack on the American drone and for the fighters who carried it out," a preacher declared, as recalled by one of the guests present, who said a raucous chorus of "amen" arose from the room. Their success earlier that day at shooting down an unmanned American Global Hawk surveillance drone (list price $131 million) surprised even some leaders of the Revolutionary Guards. They had wondered themselves whether they could hit an American target so high in the sky, according to the guest. In fact, the Revolutionary Guards sought to take out the drone in large part to prove they could do it, according to that guest and four other Iranians, including two senior current members.
An Iranian drone nearly collided with a U.S. Navy F-18 Super Hornet while the American jet was in a holding pattern, a U.S. defense official told Fox News. The jet was about to land aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, which recently arrived in the Persian Gulf. It was the first time an Iranian drone has "interrupted a flight pattern," the official said. The F-18 "maneuvered to avoid collision," said the official, who described the unarmed Iranian drone as a Qom-1. The official described the encounter as "unsafe and unprofessional…and dangerous."