The US Air Force is sending six B-52 Stratofortress long-range bombers to Diego Garcia, a secretive military outpost in the Indian Ocean, as tension soars in the wake of a US assassination strike on a top Iranian general.
The bombers will be “available for operations against Iran if ordered,” CNN’s Barbara Starr reported Monday, citing an unnamed US official, though the reporter noted the new deployment “does not signal that operations have been ordered.”
Pentagon to begin sending 6 B-52s to Diego Garcia: US official. B-52s will be available for operations against Iran if ordered, the official said. But the deployment does not signal that operations have been ordered. #Iran #Solemani
— Barbara Starr (@bstarrreports) January 6, 2020
The deployment also appears to have been corroborated by military aviation watchers, who tracked at least two bombers as they departed from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. The six bombers will follow nearly 4,000 US troops deployed to the region since last week, sent as hostilities with Iran reached new heights.
Following a heated demonstration at the American Embassy in Baghdad which Washington portrayed as an “Iranian attack,” the US launched a kill strike on the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, as he arrived to Baghdad for a meeting, also taking out several allied Iraqi militia leaders along with him.
— Aircraft Spots (@AircraftSpots) January 7, 2020
While the US maintains the general was involved in plots to attack American forces, Tehran insists the assassination – of a top official on a diplomatic trip, no less – was an act of “international terrorism” and has vowed to retaliate.
Monday’s B-52 deployment is not the only one in recent months, with four more of the long-range heavy bombers sent to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar last May, also for the purpose of countering the so-called “Iranian threat.”
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk.