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US To Send 1000 More Troops To Middle East

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In the wake of oil tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman that Washington blamed on Iran, US Defense Secretary said he is sending 1,000 more troops to the Middle East. This is in addition to 1,500 extra troops announced by President Donald Trump last month.

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said in a statement that the troop deployment is for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the region.

He said he authorized additional forces in response to a request from the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), and with the advice of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in consultation with the White House.

"The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region," the statement said.

Although Shanahan said U.S. does not seek conflict with Iran, and more troops are being deployed to ensure the safety and welfare of its military personnel working throughout the region and to protect its national interests, it definitely will add to the already tensed situation in the Middle East.

The United States is blaming Iran for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, and released images which purportedly shows Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps on the scene of the incident.

The photos showed the US-blacklisted Guards removing the remnants of an unexploded mine on a Japanese-owned oil tanker. Also seen in the latest images was a hole above the waterline on the hull of the Kokuka Courageous vessel.

The Pentagon said it will "continue to monitor the situation diligently and make adjustments to force levels as necessary given intelligence reporting and credible threats."

Meanwhile, China, which is engaged in a bitter trade war with the United States, responded to the news by warning the Trump administration against opening a "Pandora's box" in the Middle East.

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