Confirmed Attacks On US Troops Rises To 38 As Pentagon Makes Massive Show Of Force In The Middle East

(Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The Pentagon said the number of confirmed attacks on U.S. troops in the Middle East skyrocketed over the weekend as the Biden administration responded with a massive display of military force in the region.

In a rare move, U.S. Central Command announced the arrival of a nuclear-powered Ohio-class submarine to the region on Sunday along with exercises and bomber deployments over the weekend aimed at sending a message to adversaries seeking to escalate conflict, according to statements. Meanwhile, Iran-backed militias attempted seven more “harassing” drone or rocket attacks on bases hosting U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria during the same period, bringing the total to 38, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed on Monday, according to Politico.

As the Pentagon showcased air and seapower in the Middle East, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was conducting a whirlwind diplomatic trip to meet with leaders of the Palestinian Authority, Iraq, Turkey and others aimed at precluding a wider war. (RELATED: ‘Is That A Red Line?’: Lloyd Austin Shirks Question Over Whether US Would Retaliate If Iran’s Proxies Kill An American)

At least 46 servicemembers reported minor injuries from the Oct. 17 and 18 attacks as new wounds emerged, Ryder said, according to Politico. The Pentagon said on Oct. 25 that at least 21 personnel sustained minor injuries during the drone attacks on Al Assad Airbase in Iraq and the Al-Tanf Garrison in Syria and since returned to duty in an emailed statement.

“It is important to note, in some cases service members may report injuries such as TBI several days after attacks occur, so numbers may change. We will continue to work closely with U.S. Central Command to provide updates as appropriate,” Ryder said in the statement.

The Pentagon has ramped up deployments to the Middle East in recent weeks as deterrent to actors seeking to capitalize on the Israel-Hamas conflict and oppose American support for Israel.

Also on Sunday, CENTCOM disclosed a U.S. Air Force B-1 Lancer strategic bomber receiving a refueling mid-air as part of a larger Bomber Task Force mission in the CENTCOM area focused on integrating U.S. airpower with partner air forces.

“The mission was designed to build agility and interoperability between U.S. and partners while demonstrating the ability of the U.S. military to respond to crises and contingencies across theaters,” CENTCOM said in a statement.

The Ohio-class U.S. submarine that entered the CENTCOM area of responsibility Sunday is a SSGN, a version of the Ohio class armed with up to 154 cruise missiles rather than nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, a Navy spokesperson said, according to Business Insider. At the time the photo was taken, the submarine was transiting the Suez Canal between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, the spokesperson said.

The Pentagon rarely discloses submarine deployments for security reasons.

In addition, the U.S.S. Dwight. D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier accompanied by a cruiser and two destroyers arrived in the Middle East on Saturday, CENTCOM said. The Eisenhower strike group joined the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford carrier group already present in the region.

The Ford and Eisenhower strike groups conducted joint drills with the Italian navy in the eastern Mediterranean the day before including more than 11,000 U.S. sailors and aviators on board, the U.S. Navy said in a press release.

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