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U.S. Forces Say They Shot Down Iranian Drone Over Iraq

BAGHDAD -- The U.S. military has reported shooting down an unmanned Iranian aircraft over Iraq last month, some 100 kilometers north of Baghdad.

The U.S. military said U.S. jet fighters shot down the drone, adding that it "was no accident."

But Major General Abdul Aziz Mohammed Jassim, head of military operations at the Iraqi Defense Ministry, told Reuters he thought the aircraft's entry into Iraq was probably a mistake.

Iranian officials had no immediate comment on the incident.

Analysts said the three weeks of silence from U.S., Iraqi, and Iranian officials about the incident underscores the sensitive nature of any contact between Iran and the United States.

U.S. military officials have in the past accused Iran of arming militants and meddling in neighboring Iraq, where tens of thousands of people have died in sectarian and insurgent violence since the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein in 2003.

But relations between the government of Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Iran, a fellow majority Shi'ite state, are mostly friendly.

President Barack Obama's administration has signaled interest in reopening direct channels of communication with Tehran.

compiled from agency reports