Trump sends B-52 bombers to Middle East amid Iran war fears

Trump sends B-52 bombers to Middle East amid Iran war fears
The deployment of the bombers comes after reports that Trump planned strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.
2 min read
25 November, 2020
B-52 bombers have been deployed to the Middle East [Getty]
Long-range American B-52 bombers were deployed to the Middle East over the weekend, hours before Israeli, US, and Saudi officials reportedly held unprecedented talks regarding regional concerns in the north of the kingdom. 

US Central Command said in a statement that B-52 "aircrews" from the North Dakota-based 5th Bomb Wing had "conducted a short-notice, long-range mission into the Middle East on November 21", according to The Times on Wednesday.

They were sent to the unnamed location in the region "to deter aggression and reassure US partners and allies".

They were joined by F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, all capable on launching strikes on selected targets if necessary.

"The ability to quickly move forces into, out of and around the theatre to seize, retain and exploit the initiative is key to deterring potential aggression," Lieutenant-General Greg Guillot, commander of US 9th Air Force, told The Times.

The deployment comes amid tensions between Iran and the US and its allies as President Donald Trump prepares to leave office.

Earlier this month, reports emerged that Trump made plans for air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Although Trump did not go ahead with the intervention, there are still concerns that the US or Israel could launch airstrikes on rival Iran during the president's final weeks in office.

Iran has enriched uranium stockpiles ten times over the limits set in a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, an agreement the US withdrew from during the Trump presidency.

The movement came amid reports of talks in Saudi Arabia's NEOM Red Sea city between Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in the presence of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Although Saudi Arabia has strongly denied the secret meeting - that would be a first between the two countries - other sources and an Israeli minister have insisted the talks took place.

The 7,000 miles journey of the heavy bombers happened just a day before the meeting and appears to message to Iran following recent tensions.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen launched a missile strike on a Saudi oil facility earlier this week, causing minor damage.

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