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US to send 1,500 extra troops to Middle East amid tensions

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Saturday, 25 May, 2019, 14:10
US to send 1,500 extra troops to Middle East amid tensions

The US is to send 1,500 troops to the Middle East to counter the "ongoing threat posed by Iranian forces", the acting defence secretary says.

Congress has been notified about the plans, Patrick Shanahan said in a statement. Fighter jets, drones and other weaponry will also be deployed.

President Donald Trump announced the move earlier on Friday. He said the deployment was "relatively small".

A top US official has accused Iran directly of attacking oil tankers.

Tensions rose this month after shipping in the Gulf of Oman was damaged by a series of mystery explosions.

The US has already deployed an aircraft carrier and bomber planes.

But only on Thursday, Mr Trump said that he did not think more troops would be needed.

"I don't think we're going to need them," he told reporters. "I really don't. I would certainly send troops if we need them."