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US deploys 1,500 more troops to Middle East as tensions with Iran rise

By Emily Mee, news reporter

The US is deploying an extra 1,500 troops to the Middle East as the country faces heightened tensions with Iran.

Speaking outside the White House, President Donald Trump said the military personnel would be "mostly protective".

Congress had been informed about the move earlier in the day.

According to a copy of the notification submitted to Congress, the forces will deploy in the coming weeks and number "roughly" 1,500.

Image: President Trump told reporters the troops would have a 'mostly protective' role

The Pentagon says that of the 1,500 additional troops, only about 900 will be newly deploying while 600 already in the region will be extended.

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The US has been reinforcing its presence in the region in response to an alleged threat from Iran.

A senior Pentagon officer said Washington blames Iran and its proxies for a spate of tanker bombings near the United Arab Emirates, as well as a rocket attack in Iraq.

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Vice admiral Michael Gilday said the US believed Iran's Revolutionary Guard was responsible for bombings on four tankers, based on intelligence gathered in the region.

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He said the additional troops would boost surveillance of Iranian forces and their proxies.

The notification to Congress said the troops would aim to protect US forces already in the region and will ensure freedom of navigation, "with their primary responsibilities and Read More – Source

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