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US sends F-35s, Navy destroyer to Middle East amid aggressive moves by Russia, Iran

The Pentagon is bolstering its defenses in the region as Congress presses the Biden administration to crack down on Iran's oil and gas exports.
In this handout image released by the South Korean Defense Ministry, a South Korean Air Force F-35A fighter jet takes off from the runway during the "Vigilant Storm" U.S.-South Korea joint aerial drill at Gunsan Air Base on Oct. 31, 2022 in Gunsan, South Korea.

The Pentagon is sending high-end F-35 fighter jets and a Navy destroyer to the Middle East to fend off increasingly aggressive maneuvers by Russian pilots over Syria and to deter a recent spate of attempted seizures of commercial fuel tankers by Iran.

The deployment of the F-35s follows the arrival of stealth F-22s to Jordan from Europe last month on a short-term rotation to ward off Russian pilots’ maneuvers.

Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh announced the F-35 deployment on Monday, saying some of the aircraft may already be en route, but did not say how long they would remain in the region.

Late last week, a US Navy guided-missile destroyer — the USS Thomas Hudner — arrived at the Navy’s Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain after passing through the Suez Canal.

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