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New US Warships Join the 5th Fleet In What Appears To Be Rotation

File photo - USS Boxer amphibious assault ship.
File photo - USS Boxer amphibious assault ship.

The U.S. Navy says more American warships have arrived to the Mideast amid heightened tensions with Iran, replacing other ships on duty.

Monday’s Navy statement says the USS Boxer amphibious assault ship, along with the amphibious transport dock USS John P. Murtha and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry arrived in the 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility.

The Navy didn’t elaborate on where the ships were.

The Bahrain-based 5th Fleet oversees the Navy’s presence in the Persian Gulf and surrounding Mideast waters.

The USS Boxer carries the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, as well as a combat helicopter squadron. It came from the Indian Ocean after leaving San Diego on May 1. The Boxer’s group replaces that of the USS Kearsarge.

Already, the American aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and accompanying vessels are in the region. It was rushed to the region in May by the White House over what it described at the time as threats from Iran.

Tensions have sharply risen after Iran downed a U.S. surveillance drone on June 20 at the Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

U.S. President Donald Trump decided against military retaliation.

Reporting by AP