The US is planning to deploy six B-52 strategic bomber aircraft to a base in the Indian Ocean amid increased tension with Iran, according to a media report. Citing a US official, CNN claimed on Monday that the B-52s will be available for operations against Iran if ordered.
Tension intensified between Washington and Tehran after the killing Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Iraq, with US President Donald Trump warning Iran that any attacks would be met with a “disproportionate” response.
“If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation!” Trump warned in a pair of tweets late on Saturday.
The official emphasised the B-52 bombers will be placed in the British territory of Diego Garcia island, instead of Qatar, to keep the aircraft out of the range of Iranian missiles. The Pentagon has yet to confirm the deployment, but it made a similar move last year when tensions with Iran began rising.
Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite Quds Force, was killed in a US drone airstrike outside Baghdad’s airport, marking a dangerous escalation in tensions between the US and Iran.