Graphic shows U.S. troops in the Middle East and deployments following the killing of Qassem Soleimani.
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MILITARY

U.S. sends reinforcements to Middle East

By Jordi Bou

January 7, 2020 - The U.S. is deploying thousands of additional troops in preparation for attacks from Iranian forces or their proxies following the killing of Iran’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani.

While officials say American intelligence isn’t clear on whether Iran's latest military moves are designed to bolster Tehran’s defenses or prepare for an offensive strike, the U.S. is continuing to reinforce its own positions in the region, including repositioning some forces.

Officials said a number of the recently deployed soldiers from the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division had moved into Iraq from Kuwait in order to increase security for Americans there.

The U.S. Maritime Administration put out the warning for ships, citing the rising threats after Soleimani's killing. Oil tankers were targeted last year in mine attacks the U.S. blamed on Iran.

Tehran denied being responsible though it did seize oil tankers around the crucial Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20% of the world’s crude oil travels.

Soleimani's death, which has sparked major protests, further nuclear development and new threats of violence, has raised the prospect of a wide and unpredictable conflict in the Middle East and escalated tensions between Iran and the U.S.

PUBLISHED:07/01/2020; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images
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