The U.S. military flew two B-52H bombers over the Persian Gulf on Wednesday in an effort to deter Iran amid ongoing tensions, according to U.S. Central Command.
The two Air Force “Stratofortresses” flew from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to deliver “a clear deterrent message to anyone who intends to do harm to Americans or American interests,” the command said in a statement.
The deployment marks the third such mission into the region in the last 45 days.
“The United States continues to deploy combat-ready capabilities into the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to deter any potential adversary, and make clear that we are ready and able to respond to any aggression directed at Americans or our interests,” Centcom head Gen. Frank McKenzie, said in the statement. “We do not seek conflict, but no one should underestimate our ability to defend our forces or to act decisively in response to any attack.”
The show of force comes as national security officials fear Iran may be planning a response on the one-year anniversary of the U.S.-ordered airstrike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad’s airport on Jan. 3.
A senior U.S. military official told reporters ahead of the flight that a recent U.S. intelligence report indicates that Iran wants to “avenge that killing,” and has “potential for other more complex attacks” against Americans in Iraq, Fox News reported.
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