(KSLA) — With tensions between the U.S. and Iran already at heightened levels, the militaries of both countries are making preparations in case they are called to action.
Iran has vowed revenge for the killing of Qasem Soleimani, one of its top leaders.
This afternoon, The Associated Press cited Iran state TV as saying Tehran launched “tens” of surface-to-surface missiles at Iraq’s Ain Assad air base, which houses U.S. troops. And Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned the U.S. and regional allies against retaliating over the attack.
Pentagon sources previously described Iranian military movements as “very troubling.”
Meantime, CBS’s Natalie Brand reports that the U.S. military is moving more assets, including B-52 bombers.
“The United States is not seeking a war with Iran, but we are prepared to finish one,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said.
The Pentagon this week ordered six B-52 bombers to deploy to the British territory of Diego Garcia, an atoll in the Indian Ocean.
Several reports claim that those bombers are there for possible operations against Iran.
It is unclear how many of the half dozen bombers came from Barksdale Air Force Base.
But earlier today, Congressman Mike Johnson tweeted: “Praying for our airmen from Barksdale Air Force Base and all others who are being deployed to the Middle East. God bless and protect the defenders of freedom.”
CNN’s Barbara Starr has cited an unidentified U.S. official as saying the B-52s will be available for operations against Iran if ordered.
In a tweet, the reporter notes that the deployment “does not signal that operations have been ordered.”
Diego Garcia has been a launching point for US military actions in the Middle East — including the 2001 campaign against Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
And the Pentagon traditionally has deployed long-range bombers and other aircraft as a sign of U.S. forces’ presence and capabilities.
Last year, six B-52s deployed to Qatar when tensions with Iran began rising. This time, Diego Garcia was chosen to keep the aircraft out of the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles, the official told Starr.
The CNN reporter also retweeted a tweet by Aircraft Spots that implies that at least some of the six deployed B-52s hail from Barksdale Air Force Base.