US To Deploy Troops To Saudi Following Oil Installation Attack

Defence Secretary Mark Esper told Pentagon reporters this is the first step to beefing up security in the country.

Smoke billows from the Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia  (Picture: PA Images).

The US has said it will deploy extra troops and military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to increase security.

The announcement comes as President Donald Trump has put off any immediate military strike on Iran in response to the attack on the Saudi oil industry.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Pentagon reporters this is the first step to beefing up security and he would not rule out additional moves in the future.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said more details about the deployment will be determined in the coming days, but it would not involve thousands of US troops.

Other officials said the US deployment would likely be in the hundreds and the defensive equipment heading to the Middle East would probably include Patriot missile batteries and possibly enhanced radars.

Saudi Drone Attack Aftermath CREDIT DVIDS
The image above, distributed by the US government, shows damage to the infrastructure at at Saudi Aramco's Kuirais oil field in Buqyaq, Saudi Arabia (Picture: US Department of Defense).

The announcement reflected Mr Trump's comments earlier in the day when he told reporters that showing restraint "shows far more strength" than launching military strikes and he wanted to avoid an all-out war with Iran.

Instead, he laid out new sanctions on the Iranian central bank and said the easiest thing to do would be to launch military strikes.

Mr Dunford told reporters the extra equipment and troops would give the Saudis a better chance of defending against unconventional aerial attacks, saying:

"No single system is going to be able to defend against a threat like that ... but a layered system of defensive capabilities would mitigate the risk of swarms of drones or other attacks that may come from Iran."

The US has not provided any hard evidence that Iran was responsible for the attacks, while insisting the investigation continues, but Mr Esper said the drones and cruise missiles used in the attack were produced by Iran.