US, allies planning naval escort for Gulf tankers: Pentagon

The US and its allies are discussing plans to provide naval escorts for oil tankers through the Gulf, a top US general said Thursday (July 11th) after Iranian military vessels menaced a British tanker.

Gen. Mark Milley, nominated to become the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate hearing that the US has a "crucial role" in enforcing freedom of navigation in the Gulf, AFP reported.

He said the US was attempting to put together a coalition "in terms of providing military escort, naval escort to commercial shipping".

"I think that that will be developing over the next couple weeks," he said.

Milley, currently chief of staff of the army, confirmed less specific remarks by current Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford earlier this week.

Dunford told media that the Pentagon was working to identify possible partners in an effort to protect navigation in the Straits of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandeb, through which much of the world's crude oil traffic passes.

Milley's remarks came after London said Thursday that armed Iranian boats tried to block a supertanker before being warned off by a British warship in a dramatic escalation in the Gulf.

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