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The Trump administration is currently weighing sending more troops, including air defense units to the Middle East as an act of deterrence, defense officials told Fox News on Thursday.
Gen., Kenneth Mackenzie, the head of the U.S. Central Command, requested additional air-defense units, but the White house has not yet decided whether to approve the request, officials said. Additional Patriot air defense batteries could help, the support, the holes in Saudi Arabia in the air-defence units after attacks on two oil sites last weekend.
More fifth generation fighter jets could also be used to connect the F-22 Raptor, deployed in June to Qatar.
An addition of troops in the Middle East would likely number in the “hundreds,” one official told Fox News. There are about 70,000 troops currently in use for the region.
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President Trump is expected to meet with his top national security officials at the White house on Friday and could make a decision on the deployment of additional troops soon.
U.S. officials accused Iran for Saturday, the attack on Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq oil-processing plant and another oil-field from the South. The strike interrupted production of approximately 5.7 million barrels of oil-about five percent of the world’s supply.
Yemen, Iran-supported Houthi rebels quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, but Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said it was “completely clear” was Iran responsible for the attack, an accusation Tehran denied. Both Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, who had said the attack was an “act of war” by Iran, and U.S. officials have said that Iranian cruise missiles and drones were used in the attack and were released from the interior of the Islamic Republic.
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However, Pentagon officials said on Thursday the United States would defer to Saudi Arabia’s, according to the assessment of responsibility for the attack before making any moves.
“We have to go through the work with the Saudis, as happened, your evaluation of what. We provide you with the information, as you said, through the evaluation,” the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Jonathan Hoffman told reporters. “We are consulting, and we will have to wait until the final assessment is complete, with the Saudis, and you have your explanation.
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“I will acknowledge that from this point on, all the evidence we have that Iran is in any way responsible for the attack on the Saudi refineries.”
General staff-the Secretary of the Air Force Colonel Patrick S. Ryder said the attacks looked more refined than the Houthis have been able to in the past.
“Regardless of whether this is a proxy or a direct attack by Iranian troops], which was a dramatic escalation of what we have seen in the past. This was a series of flying projectiles. It was very challenging, and coordinated,” said Ryder. “Look at the precision. Of course, it is not something that we have seen in the past from Houthi attacks.”