US to deploy B-52 bombers to Indian Ocean base amid Iran crisis
The US Defence Department has said that it will deploy six B-52 Stratofortress bombers to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, CNN reported on Monday.
The huge B-52 bomber aircraft will be available if operations against Iran are ordered.
The island hosts a massive US airbase which acts as strategic location for the US' Middle East operations. It was chosen for the deployment because it is out of range of Iranian missiles, CNN said.
CNN stressed that the deployment does not signal that the US has ordered operations against Iran.
"The Pentagon has traditionally deployed long-range bombers and other aircraft as a sign of US force presence capability," its report said.
In 2019, the Pentagon deployed six B-52s to Qatar when tensions with Iran started to rise.
Iran has said that it will retaliate against the US for last Friday's killing of Qasim Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, the overseas arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). He and and Iraqi militia leader died in a US airstrike near Baghdad Airport in Iraq.
The US said that he was planning operations that would kill Americans in the Middle East.