US Navy cancels joint exercises in Morocco, redeploys troops in Middle East
The US Navy has cancelled planned joint exercises with the Moroccan military amid raised tensions following the operation in Iraq that killed Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) elite Quds Force, media reported on Saturday, Trend reports citing Sputnik.
According to a US Navy statement seen by media outlet USNI news, the assault ship USS Bataan and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, who were due to take part in the exercises, are now being redeployed to the Middle East.
Earlier on Saturday, the Pentagon told the CNN broadcaster that the US military is set to deploy an additional 2,800 troops in the Middle East as tensions with Iran mount following the drone attack that killed Soleimani.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated earlier that the presence of US military forces in the Middle East is preventing countries of the region from finding peace.
On Friday, Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of an Iraqi Shia militia group, were among those killed by a US drone attack near Baghdad International Airport. US President Donald Trump called the attack a preemptive, defensive strike, while Rouhani has warned that Tehran will take revenge for what it views to be a heinous crime.