The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) on Wednesday said that it had sent two B-52H strategic bombers to the Middle East as a show of force to deter attacks against U.S. interests in the region.
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The deployment aimed to underscore the "U.S. military's commitment to regional security and demonstrate a unique ability to rapidly deploy overwhelming combat power on short notice," the CENTCOM informed.
"The two-ship deployment also delivers a clear deterrent message to anyone who intends to do harm to Americans or American interests."
CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie said that "the United States continues to deploy combat-ready capabilities into the CENTCOM 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."
This mission is the third bomber deployment into CENTCOM's area of operation in the last 45 days. Media noted that the deployment reflects growing concerns in Washington that Iran might retaliate against the United States as the first anniversary of the assassination of commander Qassem Soleimani approaches.
The year-long tensions between the United States and Iran were reignited by a rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy compound in the Green Zone of Iraq's capital Baghdad on Dec. 20.
U.S. President Donald Trump blamed the attack on Iran. He tweeted on Dec. 23 that "some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over."
"Trump will bear full responsibility for any adventurism on his way out," Iran's Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.