BAGHDAD: U.S. jets shot down an Iranian unmanned surveillance aircraft last month over Iraqi territory about 100 km north-east of Baghdad, said the U.S. military.

A U.S. statement said the Ababil 3 was tracked for more than an hour before U.S. jets shot it down “well-inside Iraqi airspace.” The statement said the aircraft’s presence over Iraqi airspace “was not an accident.”

An Iraqi official said the Iranian aircraft went down near the Iraqi border town of Mandali. The U.S. has frequently accused the Iranians of supplying weapons, training and money to Shia extremist groups opposed to the U.S. military presence and to the U.S.-backed Iraqi government. Iran has denied links to militant groups inside Iraq. — AP