U.S. deploys F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar amid tensions with Iran

June 29, 2019

The United States has deployed F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar for the first time, its military said, adding to a buildup of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf amid tensions with Iran, Al Jazeera reported on Saturday.

The Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters have been deployed "to defend American forces and interests", the U.S. Air Forces Central Command said in a statement on Friday.

It did not specify how many of the hi-tech planes had been sent.

A photo handout showed five of the jets flying above the Al Udeid Airbase in Qatar.

Iran and the United States have been locked in an escalating standoff since U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a multi-party 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic republic.

Tensions spiked last week when Iran shot down a U.S. drone over sensitive Persian Gulf waters.

Iran downed the drone, an RQ-4A Global Hawk, after it invaded the Iranian airspace and ignored repeated warnings by the Iranian military to leave.

To prove that the drone had entered the Iranian territorial waters, Iran put on display the wreckage of the aircraft.

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