The US military has positioned a nuclear-powered submarine in the Middle East as a deterrent amidst escalating violence.
As reported by Fox News, this move comes as the war between Israel and Hamas approaches its one-month mark, following a surprise attack by Hamas-led forces that resulted in the death of 1,400 people. The US Central Command has given minimal details about the deployment but shared an image that appeared to show an Ohio-class submarine in Egypt's Suez Canal.
These submarines represent a part of America's "nuclear triad" of atomic weapons, which also includes land-based ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs on strategic bombers. Their deployment sends a clear message to adversaries.
Ohio-class submarines are capable of carrying nuclear ballistic missiles as well as cruise missiles. However, it remains unclear whether the submarine deployed near Israel has nuclear ballistic missiles onboard.
The US military has openly acknowledged the presence of a nuclear-capable submarine in the Middle East, marking a rare occurrence.
As tensions with Iran remain high, the US continues to strengthen its forces in the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding region. Iran is known to financially and militarily support Hamas and Hezbollah, both of which are currently attacking Israel.
In a separate development, an image of a nuclear-capable B-1 bomber operating in the Middle East was also shared by the Central Command.
The US has deployed or redirected over 17,350 military personnel to the region since October 7, including those in carrier strike groups and the Bataan amphibious ready group.
The increased military presence comes in response to numerous attacks on US military personnel and coalition forces amidst the ongoing fighting in Israel and Gaza.
The Pentagon confirmed that US and Coalition Forces at Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) have been attacked at least 28 times since October 17.
Of these attacks, 16 took place in Iraq and 12 in Syria, involving a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have expressed their expectations that Iran's proxies may seek opportunities to escalate the Israel-Hamas war.
They have also stated that the Biden administration is prepared to respond if American civilians or armed forces become targets.
"We don't want escalation. We don't want to see our forces or our personnel come under fire. But if that happens, we're ready for it."
Blinken said in a statement last month. Austin echoed his sentiments, warning of a significant escalation of attacks on US troops and affirming the nation's right to defend itself.
On November 5, Austin spoke with Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, reiterating the US's firm commitment to Israel's right to defend itself.
The US Department of Defense has also affirmed its commitment to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate the conflict and emphasized the importance of protecting civilians and delivering humanitarian assistance.