Two US B-52 bombers fly across Middle East, CENTCOM announces

The top US military general for the Middle East said his forces could ‘very quickly’ put a significant amount of combat power in the region.

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The US military announced Thursday that two B-52H bombers flew over the Middle East and carried out a Bomber Task Force mission, signaling its readiness to “meet any challenge decisively.”

Two B-52H Stratofortress aircraft from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, integrated with 13 partner nation air forces, conducted the mission.

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“This Bomber Task Force mission demonstrates our commitment to regional security and the collective capabilities of our military partners in the region,” US Central Command chief General Erik Kurilla said in a statement.

Kurilla said CENTCOM could “very quickly” put a significant amount of combat power in the air alongside its partners. “We can do the same on the ground and at sea to meet any challenge decisively.”

Despite not mentioning Iran, the exercise was seen as sending a signal to Iran as it continues to send weapons to Russia, increase uranium enrichment for a potential nuclear weapon, and support militias in the Middle East.

Iran-backed militias have also attacked US forces in the region on several occasions.

The Israeli military said two of its F-35 fighter jets escorted the B-52 bombers during the exercise on Thursday. “As part of the increasing cooperation with the U.S. Armed Forces, this flight is part of a series of joint exercises to strengthen our readiness toward all scenarios,” the Israeli army said in a tweet.

For his part, Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, the Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) commander, said the BTF reflected enduring US commitment to the region. “Together with our partners, we can rapidly inject overwhelming combat power into our common operating area,” he said.

Read more: US ‘not going anywhere,’ vows to remain engaged in Middle East

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