US nuclear submarine transits Strait of Hormuz amid tensions
Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AP) - An American nuclear guided missile submarine crossed the strategically important waterway between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula on Monday, the U.S. Navy said. This is a rare announcement made amid mounting tensions with Iran.
The Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said the Ohio-class submarine USS Georgia, accompanied by two other warships, passed the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow passage through which one-fifth of the world's oil supplies pass.
The unusual transit in the shallow waters of the Persian Gulf, intended to underscore American military power in the region, follows the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian scientist named by the West as the leader of the Islamic Republic's disbanded military nuclear program. It also comes roughly two weeks before the anniversary of the American drone attack in January that killed Iran’s Supreme Military Commander General Qassem Soleimani. Iran has promised to take revenge for both murders.
The presence of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine on the Middle Eastern waterways signals the US Navy's "commitment to regional partners and maritime safety," the Navy said, demonstrating its readiness to "oppose anyone at any time Defend Threat ". The USS Georgia is armed with 154 Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles and can hold up to 66 special forces, the Navy added.
Earlier this month, the US military flew two bomber planes on a mission to the Middle East that US officials described as a message of deterrence against Iran. The demonstration of military might is intended to signal the United States' continued commitment to the Middle East even as President Donald Trump's administration withdraws thousands of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 5th Fleet covers an area of 6.5 million square kilometers and runs through the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.
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