Officials: Iranian patrol boats probe Iraqi waters
An Iranian patrol boat.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iranian patrol boats have increased attempts in the last week to assess defenses near Iraqi offshore oil terminals, U.S. military officials said Monday.
The Iranian actions at the northern end of the Persian Gulf have been a subject of operational briefings for U.S. military personnel in recent days, the officials said.
The officials -- who said they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter -- said that the United States does not see the Iranian moves as aggressive or provocative. The assessment is that the probes are part of an Iranian effort to raise its military presence in the gulf.
Officials said that for several months they have seen Iranian flagged vessels attempt to approach oil terminals in the area, but activity rose last week.
On at least two days, Iranian patrol boats crossed into Iraqi waters at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, the officials said.
The boats stayed inside Iraqi waters for several minutes before Iraqi security forces told them to leave. The Iranian boats did not approach the oil terminals.
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