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US Bombers Fly over Middle East in ‘Strategic’ Show of Deterrence

US Bombers Fly over Middle East in ‘Strategic’ Show of Deterrence

Monday, 18 January, 2021 - 08:30
B-52H crews conduct second Middle East presence patrol of 2021 as key part of CENTCOM’s defensive posture. (CENTCOM)

US B-52H Stratofortress bombers flew over the Middle East on Sunday in a show of military strength amid heightened tensions with Iran.


“Short-term deployments of strategic assets are an important part of our defensive posture in the region,” said Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of CENTCOM. McKenzie added that the mission “delivers a clear and consistent message in the operational environment to both friends and potential adversaries, alike.”


At least one B-52 assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing flew over the Middle East in an “observable” demonstration of military power, the US Central Command said in a press release on Sunday.


The flight is the second of its kind this year, and the fifth in recent months, the Command wrote.


The bombers flew over Israel towards the Arabian Gulf.


Further, long-range missiles from Iran splashed down close to a commercial ship in the Indian Ocean Saturday and 160 kilometers from the Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group, Fox News reported, in the latest example of rising tensions in the region.


Iran’s navy had kicked off a short-range missile drill in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday.


A wide array of ground-to-ground ballistic missiles and drones were used to target “hypothetical enemy bases” during the first phase of the drill. The Zolfaqar, Zelzel and Dezful missiles, which officials claim are “able to break through enemy's defense systems,” were used in the drill.


Amirali Hajizadeh, the head of the aerospace division of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, said: “The missile program is a means for producing power and security for Iran.”


He noted that various classes of long-range ballistic missiles were launched in the final stage of the war game on Saturday morning to detonate the hypothetical enemy’s warships from a distance of 1,800 kilometers north of the Indian Ocean.


“Today, our goal was to destroy the enemy fleet in the northern Indian Ocean, 1,800 km away,” Hajizadeh added.


Guards chief Major General Hossein Salami stated: “One of our major goals in defense policies and strategies is to be able to target enemy ships, including aircraft carriers and battleships, using long-range ballistic missiles.”


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