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The US Department of Defense has confirmed that it will continue to operate two aircraft carrier strike groups (CSG) in the Gulf region.

US Central Command commander Marine Corps general Kenneth F McKenzie Jr said that the task forces will remain in the region for a certain time period.

The decision has been made following defensive precision airstrikes against Iran-backed Shia militia group’s (SMG) sites in Iraq.

Under the US Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR), the two aircraft carrier strike groups that will continue operations are the USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69) and the USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75).

McKenzie said: “So, we are going to keep them for a while, and I am not going to comment on exactly how long that will be because we typically try to avoid talking about tactical operations.

“The beauty of the aircraft carrier is this. It has an enormous offensive capability. It has an enormous defensive capability. It has mobility. We can move it around. Additionally, there are no access, basing and overflight issues associated with an aircraft carrier. It is a floating piece of American sovereignty. So, I can employ it in a variety of different ways.

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“So, we can move it around to present a completely changing potential threat to an adversary.  So, the carriers are very important to us, and we know that the Iranians watch them very closely too.”

The defensive precision strikes were targeted at five weapon storage facilities. The facilities are SMG’s Kata’ib Hizbollah (KH) sites in Iraq.

The US strikes against the terror group were in retaliation to the rocket attacks targeted on Camp Taji on 11 March. The attack killed three coalition members and injured 14 others.

In the last six months, the KH has been involved in 12 rocket attacks against coalition forces.

In February, allied ministers agreed to enhance Nato training mission in Iraq.