The U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps are on heightened alert and increase patrols over Iraq to respond to a potential Iranian attack at U.S. troops in the Middle East region.
Pentagon officials are concerned about movements of Iranian-backed militias amid heightened tensions on the eve of the liquidation anniversary of Iran’s top commander General Qasem Soleimani that been killed in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad on 3 January 2020.
The Pentagon announced Thursday that it flew a pair of B-52 bombers from their base in Barksdale, La., to the Middle East and back to “deter aggression” in the region. The military has also taken other steps in recent weeks, including sending the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz back to the Middle East and dispatching an additional fighter jet squadron from Europe.
Also, plane spotters reported that the U.S. Air Force has deployed KC-135R medium-size tankers, KC-10A heavy tankers, RC-135W signals-intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft and an E-3B airborne warning and control system (AWACS) to the region.
A journalist and military aviation analyst, Babak Taghvaee also reported that due to the possibility of an incoming attack of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps at U.S. troops in Iraq, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and Marince Corps have all increased their patrols over the country monitoring Quds Force and Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or al-Hashd al-Shaabi.
The Pentagon is concerned that Tehran could take advantage of the presidential transition and U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the upcoming anniversary of the U.S. killing of Iranian leader Qassem Soleimani, a military source told Politico.