A balloon flies in the sky over Billings, Montana, U.S. February 1, 2023 in this picture obtained from social media. (Chase Doak/via Reuters)
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US military shoots down Chinese spy balloon
The U.S. military has shot down the Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic Ocean.
While the balloon was off the coast of South Carolina, the balloon was shot down by U.S. military fighter jets on Saturday afternoon, according to Fox News sources.
A senior defense official said during a Thursday afternoon briefing that the U.S. government is “confident” the surveillance balloon is from the People’s Republic of China.
When asked about the balloon on Saturday by a reporter, Biden said “we’re going to take care of it.”
A senior U.S. official told Fox News on Saturday that the government was considering a plan to shoot the balloon down while it’s over the Atlantic Ocean where it wouldn’t harm any individuals on the ground.
The official added that the U.S. government could potentially recover the balloon.
During the briefing on Thursday, the defense official said that the balloon was previously spotted over Montana, where a decision was made to not shoot it down because of the potential risks.
When President Biden was briefed on the situation, he asked for military options, the official said.
“You did see reports yesterday of a ground stop at Billings Airport and the mobilization of a number of assets, including F-22,” the official said. “The context for that was that we put some things on station in the event that a decision was made to bring this down while it was over Montana.”
Responding to defense officials, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Friday the balloon is a “civilian airship” being used for meteorological purposes and deviated from its planned course.
“The airship is from China. It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes,” the spokesperson said. “Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course.”
However, the Pentagon doesn’t believe that this was a weather balloon which simply veered off course.
Full story https://www.foxnews.com/
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