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US fighter jet shoots down cylindrical object flying over Canada in 3rd such strike

US Fighter jet that shot down Chinese surveillance Ballon.

A US fighter jet shot down an unidentified flying object over Canada on Saturday in a joint operation with the North American neighbour making it the third such strike in a series which started with the downing of a Chinese spy balloon a week ago.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he ordered the object be shot down.

“Canadian and US aircraft were scrambled, and a US F-22 successfully fired at the object,” Trudeau tweeted Saturday.

Trudeau said that Canadian forces in the Yukon “will now recover and analyse the wreckage of the object.”

Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand declined to speculate about the origin of the object, which she said was cylindrical in shape.  She said it was smaller than the Chinese balloon shot down off South Carolina’s coast a week ago, though similar in appearance.

Aloft at 40,000 feet, it posed a risk to civilian air traffic and was shot down at 3:41 EST (2041 GMT), she added.

“There is no reason to believe that the impact of the object in Canadian territory is of any public concern,” Anand told a news conference.

Anand also said that she spoke with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the two “reaffirmed that we’ll always defend our sovereignty together.”

The Pentagon said NORAD detected the object over Alaska late on Friday. U.S. fighter jets from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, monitored the object as it crossed over into Canadian airspace, where Canadian CF-18 and CP-140 aircraft joined the formation, according to a Reuters report.

“A U.S. F-22 shot down the object in Canadian territory, using an AIM 9X missile following close co-ordination between U.S. and Canadian authorities,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said in a statement.

U.S. President Joe Biden authorized the U.S. military to work with Canada to take down the high-altitude craft after a call between Biden and Trudeau, the Pentagon said.

The White House said Biden and Trudeau agreed to continue close coordination to “defend our airspace.”

Saturday’s operation came after the United States said Wednesday that suspected Chinese spy balloons like the one it shot down were part of a fleet that has been operating across various countries including India and Japan. NATO has also expressed its concern over the incident.