Max Taylor

Max Taylor

Senior Analyst



Heightening Tensions with Iran

Intelligence Fusion has composed a timeline of incidents dating back to 2017, which provide you with a complete and comprehensive overview of what led to the most recent escalation in tensions with Iran. 

MARCH 2017

27th March 2017

Germany imprisons Pakistani man for 'spying for Iran'

A German court has sentenced a 31-year-old Pakistani to four years and three months in prison for spying for Iran by seeking out possible Jewish and Israeli-related targets for attacks in Germany and France.

The German news agency dpa reported Tuesday that Haider Syed Mustafa was convicted by a Berlin court for collecting extensive material on the former head of the German-Israeli Association and on a French-Israeli professor from an economic university in Paris, for the elite Quds Force unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. No attacks were carried out.

Mustafa, who came to Germany in 2012 to study for an engineering degree at the University of Bremen, received more than 2,000 euros (2,170 dollars) for his spying activities which included shooting hundreds of photos and creating presentations on the potential targets. He refused to testify during the trial. 

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APRIL 2017

27th April 2017

Huge explosion rocks Damascus airport as Israel strikes Iran-supplied arms depot

A massive explosion struck near Damascus International Airport as Israel blew up an arms supply hub operated by the Lebanese group Hezbollah, Syrian rebel and regional intelligence sources said. They were reportedly targeting weapons sent from Iran via commercial and military cargo planes.

Both Russia and Syria have condemned the attack, which Israel has not officially claimed responsibility for. But the country's intelligence minister Israel Katz, speaking from the United States to Israeli Army Radio, said 'I can confirm that the incident in Syria corresponds completely with Israel's policy to act to prevent Iran's smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah in Iran. Naturally, I don't want to elaborate on this.'

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JULY 2017

23rd July 2017

Iran runs secret missile facilities in Tartus province in Syria

By the end of 2016 the Syrian regime began installing Institute 4000's production lines, for the manufacture of medium range missiles (220 mm, 302 mm) at the site in al-Sheikh al-Ghadhban. These are the same lines the regime previously moved from lines the New Aleppo site to this site.

Iran guaranteed to provide the necessary machines for the project regardless of whether the machines were damaged or the regime unable to transfer them from Aleppo for the project to begin production in early 2017. The production of M600 long-range rockets known as Maysalun and Tishreen will be carried out at the Wadi Jehanam site, which is still being prepared for production.

The site is expected to be ready for production by the end of 2017.

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10th November 2017

Oil pipeline explodes near Buri; no casualties

The explosion targeted a Bahrain Petroleum Co. pipeline running between Bahrain and neighbouring Saudi Arabia. In a statement the Ministry of Interior said that 'evidence gathered by the inspection team confirms that this was an intentional act undertaken by terrorists intending to undermine the security of the Kingdom' with Bahrain's interior minister, Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, adding that the blast was 'the latest example of a terrorist act performed by terrorists in direct contact with and under instruction from, Iran'.

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JUNE 2018

29th June 2018

Two arrested in Brussels plotting terror bomb attack on Iranian Conference

Two Belgian citizens of Iranian origin were arrested allegedly plotting a terrorist attack against the 'Support of Freedom and Democracy in Iran' Conference, organised by the Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq, in the French town of Villepint on 30th June 2018.

The suspects, who were reportedly carrying 500 grams of TATP explosive, were arrested by police in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe in Brussels. In addition, an improvised explosive device was found in their vehicle. Authorities have identified the suspects as Amir S., born on 26th April 1980, and his wife Nasime N., born on 20th September 1984, both Belgian nationals of Iranian origin.

Both suspects were placed under arrest by a court investigator from Antwerpen specialising in terrorism cases. Prosecutors also said a suspected accomplice was detained in France. An Iranian diplomat in Vienna was also reportedly detained in Germany.

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JULY 2018

2nd July 2018

Iranian diplomat arrested in Germany

An Iranian diplomat for the embassy in Vienna was arrested in Germany in connection to a suspected terror plot against an exiled Iranian opposition group that are present in France. There was a planned meeting for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) that this man, along with two others who were in Belgium, plotted to bomb.

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2nd October 2018

Anti-terror police operation in Grande-Synthe

Searches took place at the headquarters of a Muslim Shiite association, named Zahra Center and the homes of 12 of its leaders nearby.

Approximately 200 police officers were involved in the operation and 3 suspects were arrested.

The Zahra Center is known for being allied to Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah.

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8th January 2019

Dutch Intelligence suspects Iran behind assassinations in the Netherlands

The Dutch intelligence service AIVD has strong indications of the Iran's involvement in the murders of Mohammad Samadi in Almere in 2015 and Ahmad Nissi in The Hague in 2017.

The two murdered Dutch-Iranians both opposed the regime in Tehran. Ministers Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs and Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs wrote further details in an official letter to parliament.

Criminal investigations are still ongoing into the assassinations of these two men.

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APRIL 2019

27th April 2019

Iran threatens to close Straits of Hormuz

The threat came as the United States declared that it would impose sanctions on nations that bought Iranian oil, including the eight nations initially excluded from the sanctions list including India and China.

In response, a senior Iranian general claimed that Iran would close the Straits in order to prevent trade.

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27th April 2019

Iranian recon drone scouts US aircraft carrier in Persian Gulf

The IRGC have released footage of a recon drone, named 'Ababil III' flying over an American escort vessel and aircraft carrier. The footage has not been verified.

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MAY 2019

11th May 2019

B-52 deployed to Qatar amidst US-Iran tensions

An unknown number of American B-52 bombers were sent to an unstated base in Qatar as tensions between the United States and Iran increase.

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12th May 2019

4 oil tankers damaged in suspected sabotage attack off the coats of Fujairah

Four oil tankers were damaged by unidentified suspects off the coast of Fujairah, two of the tankers were Saudi-owned. It is not clear how the vessels were sabotaged or who is responsible.

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14th May 2019

Houthi drones targeted two pumping stations on the East-West Pipeline

Houthi Qasef-1 drones targeted two pumping stations along the East-West pipeline west of Riyadh. The Afif and al-Duwadimi stations were targeted. Houthi rebels are believed to be responsible.

Satellite imagery from the day of the attack taken shortly after the attacks did not show large plumes of smoke coming from the sites, suggesting only minor damage was caused.

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15th May 2019

U.S. State Department orders non-essential embassy staff to leave Iraq

The alert follows the detection new and urgent threats from Iran and its proxy forces in the region targeting Americans and American interests.

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15th May 2019

Exiled Iranian dissidents being threatened by network of Iranian spies in the UK

Anti-Iran activists living in exile in the UK have been threatened by a global network of Iranian spies operating in the country. Individuals have threatened exiles who protest against the regime, particularly in Glasgow’s 6,000 strong Iranian community.

Chairman and co-founder of the Iranian-Scottish Association Firooz Behseresht said threats made to individuals publicly protesting in Britain was instilling suppression and fear in the community.

Sources in MI5 have corroborated claims made by activists. One such incident happened in a Glasgow takeaway, when a man was confronted by two males, one discreetly armed with 'silenced' handgun, and threatened over his political activity and criticism of the Iranian government.

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19th May 2019

Bahrainis advised to immediately evacuate from Iran and Iraq by Foreign Ministry

The Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised citizens to leave Iraq and Iran 'immediately' due to the rising tensions in the Persian Gulf region, stating that their safety could not be guaranteed.

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20th May 2019

Bahrain detects cyber terrorist network linked to Qatar and Iran

The Bahraini government claimed to have discovered a cyber terrorism network operating out of Iran and Qatar. It is believed that the network aimed to damage Bahrain's image and encourage instability in the country.

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24th May 2019

U.S. aim to deploy additional 1,500 troops to Persian Gulf

President Trump of the United States made a statement claiming that an extra 1,500 troops were being deployed to the Persian Gulf and Middle East as a result of tensions with Iran.

The President said that the additional forces would play a defensive role, but did not specify to which nations or bases they would be deployed.

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1st - 31st May 2019

U.S. Navy monitored Iranian boats in Persian Gulf which were believed to be carrying missiles

The surveillance of the vessels occurred during two weeks in May. U.S. officials stated that they saw Iranian forces load missiles into launchers on their decks.

The Iranian ships reportedly eventually pulled into a harbour and unloaded the missiles.

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JUNE 2019

1st June 2019

Hassan Nasrallah stated that war against Iran would engulf the region

Hassan Nasrallah said that the United States 'know well that any war on Iran will not remain confined to Iran's borders. The entire region will burn', leading to all US forces and interests in the region being 'annihilated'.

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6th June 2019

A U.S. MQ-9 drone was reportedly shot down over Yemen

Lieutenant-Colonel Earl Brown, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command stated that Shi'ite Houthi rebels shot down the drone. He added that the altitude at which the drone was shot down marked "an improvement over previous [Houthi] capability, which we assess was enabled by Iranian assistance."

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8th June 2019

US Chief of CENTCOM proposes permanent buildup in Middle East against Iran

General Frank McKenzie on a tour of the region which included a visit to Baghdad and the USS Abraham Lincoln, stated that he is 'negotiating' with the Pentagon on plans for 'bringing additional resources into the theater' to step up the military campaign against Iran.

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9th June 2019

Iran unveils new air defence system

The new system, the Khordad 15, can reportedly trace six targets concurrently – including fighter jets, bombers and drones – and destroy them with missiles.

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10th June 2019 [Release Date of Report]

Extremists linked to Hezbollah stockpile explosives ingredient on outskirts of north London

Extremists linked to Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, allegedly stockpiled hoards of disposable ice packs containing ammonium nitrate, an ingredient commonly used to make home made bombs in North London.

The plot was uncovered by MI5 and the Metropolitan Police in 2015 but was not released until June 2018.

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11th June 2019

Saudi air defences reported to have intercepted 2 drones near Khamis Mushayt

The target of the attack is reported to have been the Malek Khaled Airbase. Qasef-2 drones were allegedly used in the attack.

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12th June 2019

Israeli airstrikes targeted SAA positions close to al-Harra

Syrian government media reported that Israeli aircraft had jammed Syrian radars in the area. The target of the strikes is believed to have been military assets affiliated with Iran and Hezbollah. 

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12th June 2019

26 people wounded during a suspected drone attack at Abha Airport

The type of projectile used to attack the airport is not clear, a drone is suspected to have been used. Houthi media claimed that a cruise missile was used. The explosives fell on the airport's arrivals hall.

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13th June 2019

2 large oil tankers hit by explosions off the coast of Fujayrah in the Gulf of Oman

The Kokuka Courageous (Panama flagged) and the Front Altair (Marshall Islands flagged) were targeted in international waters shortly after they had passed through the Straits of Hormuz. The Front Altair could be seen in Satellite imagery burning, but still afloat as of 14th of June. Images taken from the scene after the attack show a large fire on the starboard side of the tanker with initial reports claiming that three explosions were heard on board.



13th June 2019

A U.S. Air Force drone was reportedly shot at by an Iranian missile in the Gulf of Oman

American officials claim that a MQ-9 Reaper drone was shot at as it overflew the two tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. The drone was conducting surveillance of the aftermath of the attacks when it was attacked with an SA-7 surface to air missile according to a statement from U.S. Central Command. “On June 13, 2019, according to our assessment, a modified Iranian SA-7 surface-to-air missile attempted to shoot down a U.S. MQ-9 over the Gulf of Oman to disrupt surveillance of the IRGC attack on the M/T Kokuka Courageous,” Lt. Col. Earl Brown said the statement.“The MQ-9 had arrived minutes earlier at 6:20 a.m. local time at the motor tanker (M/T) Altair and had observed the ship on fire.” The missile reportedly failed and never came closer than a kilometre from the drone.

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15th June 2019

Shipping associations order ships not to enter Strait of Hormuz or Gulf of Oman

Several major shipping organisations have reportedly ordered their vessels not to enter the Strait of Hormuz or Gulf of Oman as a result of the suspected attack on two oil tankers on 13 June 2019. BIMCO's head of maritime security has suggested that military escorts could be organised for commercial vessels in the future if the situation deteriorates further.

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16th June 2019

100 Royal Marines to be deployed in Persian Gulf following attack on tankers in Gulf of Oman

Marines will fly to Britain's new naval base in Bahrain in the coming weeks and operate from navy ships operating in the region.

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17th June 2019

Iran warns it will break uranium stockpile limits within 10 days and will enrich uranium

Iran will enrich uranium from 3.67% to 20%, close to weapon-grade level. COMMENT: Weapons-grade uranium is enriched to 90 per cent, but going from 20 per cent to 90 per cent is a much quicker process than going from 3.67 per cent to 20 per cent. COMMENT ENDS

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18th June 2019

U.S. to send 1,000 additional troops to Middle East as tensions with Iran rise

A US official said the deployment will include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft and missile defense for force protection.

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20th June 2019

Iran claimed to have shot down a US drone in Hormozgan

US officials have claimed that the MQ-4C drone was shot down whilst flying in international airspace over the Straits of Hormuz.

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20th June 2019

U.S. launched a cyber attack on Iranian weapons systems as they prepared to launch airstrikes

The cyber attack was conducted in retaliation for the shooting down of a U.S. drone and was meant to coincide with air strikes against Iranian military targets.

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20th June 2019

President Trump reportedly approved military strikes against Iran, however, reversed decision

News outlets are reporting that President Trump approved the strikes in retaliation for the downing of an American drone by Iran. Officials said the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, 'like radar and missile batteries'. The operation had actually begun according to sources, however, no attacks had been conducted at the time of the mission being called off.

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22nd June 2019

Iran reportedly executed an ex-defence employee accused of spying for U.S.

Jalal Hajizavar, who was a contract employee for the Iranian defence ministry's aerospace organisation was executed at Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, west of Tehran. Jalal left his post nine years ago and was convicted of espionage after an investigation discovered documents and spying equipment at his home.

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23rd June 2019

Britain could join Trump in a war on Iran, says Jeremy Hunt

The Foreign Secretary confirmed the UK would consider requests for support ‘on a case-by-case basis’.


24th June 2019

Iran claims that all cyber attacks launched by the U.S. against them on 20th June 2019 were foiled

Telecommunications minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi made the claim on Twitter. 


24th June 2019

Lt Gen Robert Ashley Jr, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency chief claims the drone and tanker attacks are an attempt to fight back against 'status quo' as economic sanctions start to bite

The DIA chief also stated that the sanctions imposed on Iran are causing the country to slide into recession and the attacks were an attempt to change the path negotiations are heading. 


24th June 2019

New U.S. sanctions target Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei

President Donald Trump stated that the increased sanctions were in response to the shooting down of the U.S. drone and many other things. The US Treasury department said eight senior Iranian commanders who "sit atop a bureaucracy that supervises the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps malicious regional activities", were being targeted. 


24th June 2019

Russia says it will counter 'illegal' U.S. sanctions on Tehran

Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov has not stated what steps Russia would take to counter the sanctions. 


24th June 2019

U.S. plans to send 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East to counter Iran

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan made the statement. 

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25th June 2019

Iran has mocked President Donald Trump, claiming the White House is afflicted by mental retardation

Hassan Rouhani stated that US sanctions imposed on Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are "outrageous and idiotic".


25th June 2019

Iran prodcued a map which claims to prove the US drone shot down had crossed into Iranian airspace

Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran's UN ambassador, revealed the radar images which the U.S. claim as false. 



25th June 2019

President Trump threatens Iran with obliteration by overwhelming force if it attacks anything American

President Trump tweeted, "Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!"

25th June 2019

Iranian MPs create bill to implement toll of vessels passing through Strait of Hormuz

The bill would mean that vessels passing through the Strait would have to pay the Iranian government a toll in compensation for security costs.


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JULY 2019

1st July 2019

Iran has breached the limit on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium

Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif was quoted as confirming the 300kg (660lb) cap had been exceeded. 

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1st July 2019

Israel will be destroyed in half an hour if Iran is attacked by America, warns Iranian politician

Mojtaba Zonnour, Chairman of Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, made the remarks in an interview with Al-Alam Arabic language news TV network.

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2nd July 2019

Iranian prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for several prisoners accused of being U.S. spies

The prisoners were arrested in 2018, and Iran accuses them of spying on military and nuclear bodies for the U.S. 


3rd July 2019

Various threats made between U.S. and Iran

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated, Tehran will continue to increase its uranium enrichment to 'any amount we want'. 

President Trump tweeted: 

An adviser to President Rouhani also tweeted: 


3rd July 2019

Details of 10 anti-American bills presented in Iranian parliament

A committee of Iranian legislators were presented with details regarding 10 anti-American bills, which include taking action against nations in the Persian Gulf which house U.S. military bases and protecting Iranian waters.

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4th July 2019

British ambassador to Iran summoned over oil tanker seizure in Gibraltar

The British Ambassador in Tehran was summoned after it was revealed that around 30 Royal Marines had assisted in the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker that was thought to be en-route to Syria.

The Iranian government has declared the seizure as being illegal, while British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt defended the actions as preventing resources reaching the "murderous" Assad regime in Syria.

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5th July 2019

Iranian officials claimed that they will seize a British Vessel

Iran has threatened to seize a British tanker in response to the seizure of an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar. The Iranian tanker was seized for violating EU sanctions as it travelled to Syria.

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7th July 2019

Iran to enrich uranium beyond 3.67%

The Iranian government has stated that it will begin to enrich uranium beyond the 3.67% level imposed by the JCPOA.

It has been claimed that Iran will now enrich uranium to around 5%, which will then be used int the country's nuclear power plant in Bushehr. It was also suggested that Iran may breach the terms of the JCPOA further still in 60 days time if European nations to not abide by their commitments regarding economic sanctions.

While officials have not stated their intensions regarding how they will breach the JCPOA, it is possible that such a breach could include producing uranium at around 20% enrichment in order to be used at a research-based nuclear reactor located near Tehran, although Iranian officials have claimed that doing so is not a priority.

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8th July 2019

Saudi Navy claimed to have seized a boat packed with explosives in the Red Sea

The Saudi Navy claimed that they seized a boat carrying explosives in the southern area of the Red Sea. According to Saudi forces, the boat was used by Houthi forces and was intended to be used to attack a commercial vessel.

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10th July 2019

Suspected Iranian vessels reported to have harassed a British tanker in the Straits of Hormuz

Three suspected Iranian vessels (likely patrol boats) are reported to have harassed the British tanker 'British Heritage' as it passed through the Straits, near Abu Musa Island.

The HMS Montrose intervened in the situation, and warned the three suspected Iranian vessels to withdraw.

Iran has denied involvement.

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13th July 2019

Tanker reported missing in the Straits of Hormuz

A Panama flagged tanker based in the UAE was reported missing in the Straits of Hormuz. The tanker disappeared on open source vessel tracking software on Saturday.

The vessel is reported to have been seen moving towards Iran before its signal was lost.

Tanker reported missing in the Straits blamed on Iran

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15th July 2019

Remote controlled boat carrying explosives allegedly seen near British warship in the Red Sea

A remote controlled boat carrying explosives is reported to have been seen near to the HMS Duncan as it travelled through the Red Sea. The exact location of the incident is not clear. British media has claimed that the boat carrying explosives was seen by a Saudi warship.

According to media reports the boat was controlled by Houthi fighters and had a range of approximately four miles. Details of the incident have not been confirmed.

Remote controlled boat in the Red Sea reportedly Houthi Rebels carrying explosives

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18th July 2019

U.S. plans to send an additional 500 troops to Prince Sultan air base in Saudi Arabia

The troops will be based at the Prince Sultan air base and are part of the additional 1,000 troops that the Pentagon has planned to send to the Middle East over rising tensions with Iran.

The base has been chosen since it is thought to be a difficult target for Iranian missiles. It is not clear when the troops are expected to arrive.

U.S. plans to send an additional 500 troops to Prince Sultan air base in Saudi Arabia

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18th July 2019

An Iranian drone that was monitoring the USS Boxer was shot down in the Strait of Hormuz

The USS Boxer reportedly issued multiple warnings for the drone to stand down, which were ignored. The drone came within 1,000 yards of the ship. The drone was shot down.

Iranian drone shot down in Strait of Hormuz after it came within 1,000 yards of USS Boxer ship

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