Trump: US to send 1,500 extra troops to Middle East

Handout picture released by the US Navy on 8 May 2019 shows the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln being replenished at sea by the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 9)Image copyright

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The US deployed an aircraft carrier to the Gulf earlier this month

The US is to send 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East for “mostly protective” reasons, President Donald Trump has announced.

“We want to have protection in the Middle East,” he told reporters on Friday. He described the latest deployment as “relatively small”.

Congress has been notified about the plans, US media report.

Tensions between the US and Iran rose this month, with America sending an aircraft carrier to the region.

The US has also deployed more planes to the Gulf in recent days, with officials saying there was a threat from Iran-backed forces in Iraq.

But only on Thursday, President Donald Trump said he did not think more troops were needed.

“I don’t think we’re going to need them,” he told reporters. “I really don’t. I would certainly send troops if we need them.”

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Media captionThe BBC’s Paul Adams looks at the recent developments behind the US-Iran tensions