The United States has deployed F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar for the first time, adding to a buildup of US forces in the Gulf amid escalating tensions with Iran.

The Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighters have been deployed “to defend American forces and interests”, the US Air Forces Central Command

statement from US Air Forces Central Command

The statement did not mention the number of fighter jets that had been sent to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, but a handout picture showed at least five these planes.

Tehran and Washington have been locked in an escalating standoff since US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from a multi-party 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic republic. Last week, an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a US drone over the Strait of Hormuz. Iran claims the drone was in its airspace, which Washington denies.


Omar Hajjar is a journalist based in the UK. An investigative reporter, he has lived in 3 different countries in the Middle East over the past 10 years.

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