The United States is sending 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced on Monday. The move comes after two oil tankers were attacked in the strategic Gulf of Oman last week. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that Iran was behind the attacks, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman quickly followed suit.
“In response to a request from the U.S. Central Command... and in consultation with the White House, I have authorized approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East,” Shanahan said on Monday. “The recent Iranian attacks validate the... intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces. Shanahan said the U.S. is not seeking conflict with Iran, and that move “is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel... and to protect our national interests.”
Last month, the U.S. sent 1,500 troops to help deter growing tensions with Iran. The additional troops will reportedly be part of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance units, according to a U.S. official cited by ABC News reports.