U.S. bolsters defense of Mideast forces

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has ordered the activation of air defense systems that will protect American forces in the Middle East against potential attacks from Iran.

Austin said Saturday he activated deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery and additional Patriot battalions “throughout the region.”

“Finally, I have placed an additional number of forces on prepare to deploy orders as part of prudent contingency planning, to increase their readiness and ability to quickly respond as required,” he added.

“These steps will bolster regional deterrence efforts, increase force protection for US forces in the region, and assist in the defense of Israel,” Austin said.

Armed factions close to Iran have threatened to attack US interests in Iraq over Washington’s support for Israel’s war against Hamas.

US troops stationed at two bases in Iraq were targeted with rocket attacks Friday that caused no casualties.

Since Wednesday, three Iraqi bases used by US-led coalition troops have been targeted in five separate attacks — Ain al-Assad, the Al-Harir base in northern Iraq and a military camp near Baghdad airport.


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