WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon said Monday it was sending about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East in response to growing tensions with Iran, the latest increase of U.S. forces in the volatile region.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the additional forces were being deployed "for defensive purposes to address air, naval and ground-based threats."
He did not say which units would go, or where they would be deployed, but said the decision was made in response to a request from U.S. commanders in the region and in consultation with the White House.
Shanahan made clear the deployment was in response to explosions last week aboard two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman that the Trump administration has blamed on 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," he said in a statement.
He added, "The United States does not seek conflict with Iran."
The Pentagon previously moved nearly additional 8,500 troops to the Middle East since early May, including an aircraft carrier task force, strategic bombers and other warplanes, as well as Patriot anti-missile batteries and other forces.
(c)2019 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.