Carrier strike force in position to confront Iran

Carrier strike force in position to confront Iran

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The destroyer USS Bainbridge transits the Suez Canal before its arrival in the Persian Gulf region on Thursday (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jason Waite)

WASHINGTON — The USS Abraham Lincoln, the Leyte Gulf cruiser and destroyers Bainbridge, Mason and Nitze have reached the Gulf of Oman and are in position to conduct exercises or engagements against Iran, military analysts tracking the carrier group said Thursday.

The carrier strike force is one of four elements the Pentagon ordered to the region in response to unspecified Iranian threats against U.S. military personnel in the region, the Pentagon has said.

The Pentagon deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a task force of B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf last week, followed by an amphibious ship and a Patriot missile defense battery.

“For operational security reasons, we do not discuss the location of our ships,” a Pentagon spokesperson told TMN on Thursday.

U.S. allies are skeptical of a potential threat. However, U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned that Europe is very concerned about a conflict happening by accident then escalating, according to news reports on Wednesday.

The U.K. increased the state of alert for its military and diplomatic service personnel in the Middle East on Thursday, according to news reports.

On Wednesday, the Netherlands and Germany suspended military training operations in Iraq because of the security situation, spokespersons for both militaries told various news organizations. The Netherlands embassy in Iraq remains open, according to news reports.

Pentagon officials said a huge part of the threat comes from Iran moving missiles and missile-related equipment onto much of its fleet of small, fast-moving bow, known as dhows.

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