Trump to send 1,500 additional troops to Middle East

US to bolster its military presence in the Middle East amid ongoing tensions with Iran.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

The US will bolster its military presence in the Middle East with an additional 1,500 troops, President Donald Trump said on Friday.

Trump said the troops would have a "mostly protective" role. He spoke to reporters on the White House lawn as he headed out on a trip to Japan, according to The Associated Press.

The administration had notified Congress earlier in the day about the troop plans.

The forces would number "roughly" 1,500 and would deploy in the coming weeks, "with their primary responsibilities and activities being defensive in nature," according to a copy of the notification obtained by AP.

Their mission would include protecting US forces already in the region and ensuring freedom of navigation, the notification said.

Tensions are festering between the US and Iran after Washington sent more military forces to the Middle East in a show of force against what US officials say are Iranian threats to its troops and interests in the region.

While Trump has urged Iran’s leaders to talk with him about giving up their nuclear program, he has also made clear he could not rule out a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic.

On Monday, Trump said that Iran would be met with "great force" if it attempted anything against US interests in the Middle East, though he stressed he was willing to have talks with Iran "when they're ready."

Earlier this week, reports surfaced saying that the US Department of Defense is considering a US military request to send about 5,000 additional troops to the Middle East amid increasing tensions with Iran.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan later said planners hadn't settled on a figure.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)