Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 October 2020

Two US bases in the Middle East go on alert after Iranian missile threat

All personnel at bases told to take cover but no missile struck

A US Air Force B-52 bomber arrives at a Gulf air base. Reuters
A US Air Force B-52 bomber arrives at a Gulf air base. Reuters

Two US military bases in the Middle East were put on heightened alert following an Iranian missile threat.

The alarm came on Tuesday, CNN reported, after “intelligence indicators showed an Iranian missile possibly headed that way”.

Personnel were told to take cover, but no missile struck.

Fox News reported, however, that three Iranian missiles “splashed down in waters near the bases as part of Iran’s military exercises".

The weapons, it said, landed "close enough" to cause concern.

US Central Command, which monitors the area, confirmed the incident.

"At approximately 5.30am local time, Iran launched several ballistic missiles from Iran to the Southern Arabian Gulf," spokeswoman Maj Beth Riordan said.

"The initial US assessment indicated a threat to two bases in the Gulf region that host US troops.

“Out of an abundance of caution, both bases enacted a heightened alert status.

"The incident lasted for a matter of minutes and an all-clear was declared after the threat indicator had passed.

“The safety and resilience of our service members and coalition partners is a top priority.

"The United States condemns these irresponsible missile launches in the vicinity of a congested maritime shipping lane."

On Monday, Iran towed a mock aircraft carrier to the Gulf waters near the Strait of Hormuz. The US Navy said the exercise was “irresponsible and reckless”.

"The US Navy conducts defensive exercises with our partners promoting maritime security in support of freedom of navigation, whereas Iran conducts offensive exercises, attempting to intimidate and coerce,” a Navy representative said.

"While we are always watchful of this type of irresponsible and reckless behaviour by Iran in the vicinity of busy international waterways, this exercise has not disrupted coalition operations in the area nor had any impact on the free flow of commerce in the Strait of Hormuz and surrounding waters.”

Updated: July 29, 2020 10:04 AM

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