US deploys B-52 bombers in Qatar to join fight against ISIS
Dubai: The United States has deployed B-52 bombers to the Mideast nation of Qatar to take part in the US-led bombing campaign against the Islamic State group.
It is the first time the Cold War-era heavy bombers will be based in the region since the 1991 Gulf War, when they operated from neighboring Saudi Arabia.
The B-52 Stratofortress aircraft, which arrived in Qatar, were based in Saudi Arabia and last flown operationally in May 2006 as part of the war in Afghanistan, air force officials said.
The long-range bombers will join a multinational coalition carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq.
"The B-52 will provide the coalition continued precision and deliver desired airpower effects," said Lieutenant General Charles Brown, commander of US Air Forces Central Command.
The long-range planes will provide flexibility and endurance in the US-led coalition campaign against the terrorists, he added.
"The B-52 demonstrates our continued resolve to apply persistent pressure on (the ISIS group) and defend the region in any future contingency," Brown said.
The B-52, the first US long-range heavy bomber, was developed to carry nuclear weapons and has been adapted over the years. It has been used in missions in the Vietnam War, the 1991 Gulf War and in Afghanistan.
With AP Inputs