Even as tension in the Persian Gulf remained elevated, the US has sent two Navy warships armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles to the region, according to the latest reports. These warships are supported by a carrier strike group stationed of the coast of Oman, according to the US Naval Institute (USNI).
Meanwhile, CNN reported US claims that it's in possession of images of Iranian commercial vessels that are equipped with missiles. The channel clarified that the US government hasn't given proof to establish the calm that Iranian commercial vessels are carrying hidden missiles and other munitions.
Earlier last week, the US had sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf, following an intelligence assessment that the threat of Iranian attacks on US and allies' assets in the region had escalated. The US has said there have been "indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S. forces and our interests".
Over the last weekend the tensions worsened with the attack on oil vessels of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab emirates at Fujairah port. The Houthi militia in Yemen claimed the drone attacks but the US and the Saudi authorities believe Iran was behind the attack by the Houthis, their Shia associates in Yemen. On Thursday high-level Iranian officials publicly said Iran was suspected for the drone attack on the oil tankers.
Even as the US increased its fire power in the Persian Gulf, Iran dismissed the military show of strength. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said earlier this week the US aircraft carrier stationed in the region wasn't exactly a strategic asset for the US but a liability. He said the US risked far too much by positioning a warship close to Iran with scores of fighter planes and thousands of soldiers.
On Sunday the UAE said four commercial cargo ships were attacked off its eastern coast, near the Hormuz Strait. A day later, Saudi Arabia confirmed that four of its vessels were also targeted by sabotage attacks at the Fujairah port. Apart from Saudi and UAE ships, some foreign oil carriers were also attacked.
The Strait of Hormuz holds a strategic significance as more than 25 percent of the world's crude passes through it. The rising sabre-rattling by the US and Iran over the nuclear pact and sanctions on Tehran has ratcheted up tensions in the region.
The military build-up is happening on both the sides. While Iran has boosted its naval presence in the Strait of Hormuz in the last fortnight, US has moved bombers and warships to the region. Washington believes the threat of Iranian attack on its assets and allies in the region is high but Tehran has offered the caveat that it's boosting military build-up in order to resist the US aggression.