Upwards of 3,000 U.S. sailors and Marines sailed into the Red Sea on Monday after transiting the Suez Canal in a pre-announced deployment, the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet said in a statement.
The reinforcements were carried aboard the USS Bataan and USS Carter Hall warships, providing “greater flexibility and maritime capability” to the Fifth Fleet, the statement seen by AFP added.
Their arrival followed a U.S. announcement last month it would deploy a destroyer, F-35 and F-16 warplanes, along with the Amphibious Readiness Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit, to the Middle East to deter Iran from seizing ships in the Gulf.
The U.S. military says Iran has either seized or attempted to take control of nearly 20 internationally flagged ships in the region over the past two years and the Biden White House wants to see more forces in the region to stand ready to engage Iran if required, as Breitbart News reported.
A U.S. Navy warship fired a warning flare to repel an Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboat during a tense encounter in the Strait of Hormuz. https://t.co/OXe7qyYigj
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 21, 2022
USS Bataan is an amphibious assault ship which can carry fixed-wing and rotary aircraft as well as landing craft. The USS Carter Hall, a dock landing ship, transports Marines, their gear, and lands them ashore.
“These units add significant operational flexibility and capability as we work… to deter destabilising activity and deescalate regional tensions caused by Iran’s harassment and seizures of merchant vessels,” Fifth Fleet spokesman Commander Tim Hawkins told AFP.
Iran General Hossein Salami said he seeks revenge against the U.S. that "will be hard, firm, regrettable, decisive and complete." https://t.co/9xWXPX0JEW
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 7, 2020
The deployment comes after Washington said its forces blocked two attempts by Iran to seize commercial tankers in international waters off Oman on July 5.
About a fifth of the world’s crude oil and oil products passes through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow choke point between Iran and Oman.