New US deployment in Middle East includes more Patriot missile defenses

A file photo of a US Patriot missile defence system. (AFP)

The latest deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East, which was announced on Monday, will include a Patriot missile battalion, manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft and “other deterrence capabilities,” the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but we are postured and ready to defend US forces and interests in the region,” a Pentagon spokeswoman said in a statement.

Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since last week’s attack on two oil tankers at the entrance to the Gulf, which Washington blamed on Tehran. Iran denies the accusations.

On Monday, acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced the deployment of about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East for what he said were “defensive purposes,” citing concerns about a threat from Iran.

“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the United States Navy displayed limpet mine fragments and a magnet it said it had removed from one of two oil tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week, saying the mines bore a striking resemblance to Iranian ones.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:59 - GMT 06:59
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