World Bulletin/News Desk
A U.S. navy ship that had been slated for decommissioning has been sent instead to the Gulf to help mine-clearing operations, the U.S. Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain said, the latest move in a gradual U.S. build-up as tensions with Iran smoulder.
A fleet spokesman in Manama said the USS Ponce, described as a "afloat forward staging base" (AFSB), had arrived on Thursday after undergoing refitting for its new mission.
"Ponce's primary mission is to support mine countermeasures operations and other missions, such as the ability to provide repair service to other deployed units," the spokesman said in a statement. "Additionally, Ponce also has the capability to embark and launch small riverine craft."
Vice Admiral John Miller, commander of regional navy forces, said the Ponce boasted "enhanced capability to conduct maritime security operations, and gives us greater flexibility to support a wide range of contingencies with our regional partners".
Four U.S. minesweepers arrived in the Gulf last month to bolster the Fifth Fleet and ensure the safety of shipping routes in a waterway through which 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil exports flow.
They arrived amid a flaring war of nerves between the United States and Iran over Tehran's nuclear energy programme and Iranian threats to block the Strait of Hormuz, the slender oil shipping channel out of the Gulf, in retaliation for a new European Union ban on its oil exports.
The four minesweepers were ticketed for a seven-month deployment in an area of operations that includes the Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean.
Tensions have simmered in the Gulf with big-power diplomacy to ease the nuclear dispute at an impasse and Israel renewing veiled threats to attack Iran from the air if sanctions and negotiations fail to curb Iran's nuclear advances.
A string of hawkish Iranian statements - including a renewed threat to close the Strait and destroy U.S. bases in the region "within minutes" of an attack - over the past week helped thrust benchmark Brent crude oil prices above $100 for the first time since June.
Iran has repeatedly warned of reprisals for any Israeli or U.S.-led strike on its nuclear installations.
Not long after Obama called ISIL a "cancer" with a bankrupt ideology, the Pentagon said U.S. aircraft conducted 14 air strikes in the vicinity of Iraq's Mosul Dam
Hajjaj al-Ajmi supports groups such as Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and gives refuge to prominent figures from Hamas and the Taliban but does not back the militants operating in Iraq and Syria
Interior Ministry said nine pro-Ukrainian volunteer fighters, supporting Kiev's forces, were killed in the fighting in Ilovaisk, which lies part way along the road from Donetsk
Crowd were angry because they ordered to leave a neighbourhood placed under quarantine because of the Ebola virus.
Amid back-door mediation efforts, Pakistani anti-government groups have agreed to negotiate with the government to end week-long protests that have crippled the capital Islamabad.
In a televised statement, a masked spokesman for the Izz-el-Din al-Qassam Brigade said Israel had missed its target. Deif's wife and seven-month-old son were killed in the attack.
The aftermath of the Brown shooting was due to take a new turn, when the St. Louis County prosecutor's office said it expected to begin presenting evidence to a grand jury investigating the case.
Iraqi ministries approved 15,000 Sunni tribesmen to join into ranks of the Iraqi army in the fight against self-styled Islamic State.rebels.
Officials at the Foreign Ministry of Qatar, a wealthy Gulf Arab state, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on his accusation.
The Balkan country is considering adding 130 km (80 miles) of barbed-wire fencing to an existing 33-km fence along the 240-km southeastern border
The Jordanian national, Bashar Abu Zeid, a communications engineer, smiled soon after the judge read out the ruling.
A ceasefire signed by the warring Seleka and anti-Balaka militias has failed to end violence.
Iraq's escalating crisis means that the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq is now hosting more than 600,000 internally displaced civilians
The armed wing of Hamas, engaged in a six-week war with Israel, said on its website it had fired two rockets at Noa, a gas well owned by Nobel Energy and Delek.
Questioning began at 9pm after guests were informed via loudspeaker that Kadyrov had lost his phone and lasted till the morning.
Tsewang Gonpo, 60; Yeshe, 42; and Jinpa Tharchin, 18 died in detention in Ganzi after being denied medical treatment for their injuries, the U.K.-based Free Tibet group said