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Yet another "unidentified object" has been shot down over North American airspace, Canadian President Justin Trudeau has revealed.
The latest object "violated Canadian airspace," he said, and was shot down over Yukon in north west Canada.
Both Canadian and US aircraft had scrambled to track down the object which Trudeau says was destroyed by a US F-22 fighter. Mr Trudeau says that he personally gave the order to fire after speaking with US President Joe Biden.
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“I ordered the take down of an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace," he wrote on Twitter. "NORAD Command shot down the object over the Yukon. Canadian and USaircraft were scrambled, and a US F-22 successfully fired at the object".
"Canadian forces will now recover and analyse the wreckage of the object," he added. Mr Trudeau thanked the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) which earlier said it had been monitoring "a high-altitude airborne object" over northern Canada.
The North American Aerospace Defence Command said earlier today that it had been monitoring “a high altitude airborne object” over northern Canada, and that military aircraft were operating in the area from Alaska and Canada, according to a news release from the agency.
NORAD earlier told CNN that it could not discuss specifics related to these operations, but confirmed that US military aircraft have been deployed.
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It is not yet clear whether the object is another balloon, like the one was which destroyed by a US Air Force Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor jet just off the coast of South Carolina on February 4.
That object was described in a Pentagon statement as part of a "larger Chinese surveillance balloon programme".
"We are aware that there have been four previous balloons that have gone over U.S. territory," thePentagon press secretary, Brigadier General Patrick Ryder told reporters on Wednesday.
"We know that they were looking to surveil strategic sites, to include some of our strategic bases in the continental United States," Ryder said.
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"And so when you look at the scope of this programme," he added, "and the fact that we know that these balloons have been spotted, and what we now can subsequently assess to be Chinese balloons operating over at least five continents."
The balloon destroyed by the USAF last Saturday we described by the Chinese authorities as a "civilian airship" which had been blown off course by strong winds. China said that destroying the balloon move was and "excessive" and warned that it "retains the right to respond further"
“In these circumstances, for the United States to insist on using armed force is clearly an excessive reaction that seriously violates international convention,” the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an official statement.
President Biden said the Pentagon had been aware of the balloon since it first entered US airspace but kept the knowledge private in a bid to preserve already volatile Chinese-American relations.
Authorities are continuing to recover debris from the incident after the balloon was shot down over the coast of South Carolina.
The White House claimed that the Chinese balloon was part of a large surveillance programme the country has been running for "a number of years"
Brigadier General Ryder said in a news conference on February 8 that similar balloons have been flown over the US at least four times in the past few years.
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