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US to deploy forces in Gulf in response to attacks on Saudi oil facilities

US to deploy forces in Gulf on after drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities

AFP | PTI  |  Washington 

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper at a news conference in  Paris on Saturday 	Photo: Reuters
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper | Photo: Reuters

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said that the United States will send reinforcements to the Gulf region at the request of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, following attacks on facilities which it blames on

The chief said on Fiday an Iranian attack on an American spy drone in June after Tehran seized a British oil tanker, combined with the attack on two installations last Saturday "represents a dramatic escalation of Iranian aggression."

"To prevent further escalation, Saudi Arabia requested support to help protect the kingdom's critical infrastructure. The United Arab Emirates has also requested assistance," he said.

"In response to the kingdom's request, the president has approved the deployment of US forces, which will be defensive in nature, and primarily focused on air and missile defense," Esper said.

The deployment to the region would be "moderate," Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford said, but did not specify the type of equipment or exact number of reinforcements, except that it would be fewer than "thousands of troops.

First Published: Sat, September 21 2019. 06:40 IST