US Sends Forces to Middle East in Response to Iranian Attacks on Commercial Ships

Fast-attack crafts from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy swarming Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi as it transits the Strait of Hormuz from Dubai to port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, Arabian Gulf early hours of May 3, 2023, are seen in this screenshot of a video shot provided by U.S. Navy on May 3, 2023. U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet/Handout via REUTERS
July 18, 2023

The United States will send additional F-35 and F-16 fighter jets, along with a warship, to the Middle East, the Pentagon said on Monday, in a bid to monitor key waterways in the region following Iran's seizure and harassment of commercial shipping vessels in recent months.

In May, the White House had announced that the Biden administration would be making a series of moves in the region, but at the time did not say what it would include.

"The [Pentagon] is increasing our presence and ability to monitor the [Strait of Hormuz] and surrounding waters," Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters. It was not clear where exactly the additional jets would be placed and how long they would stay in the region.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Navy said it had intervened to prevent Iran from seizing two commercial tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Since 2019, there have been a series of attacks on shipping in strategic Gulf waters at times of tension between the United States and Iran.

About a fifth of the world's crude oil and oil products passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a choke point between Iran and Oman.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Published under: Iran