According to two US defense officials, 500 soldiers are expected to arrive at Prince Sultan Air Base, located in a desert area east of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. A small number of troops and support personnel are already on-site, and initial preparations have been made for a Patriot anti-missile battery, as well as runway and airfield improvements, officials said.
The US has wanted to station troops there for some time, as security investigations have shown that it will be difficult for Iranian missiles to target the remote area.
But the Trump administration has said it wants to help protect Saudi Arabia from Iranian aggression.
Congress was not officially informed about the operation, although one official told CNN that they had been given an informal heads-up and an announcement is expected next week.
The Congressional Alert will provide more specific details about US military operations in the region, which have already been publicly announced.
Commercial high-resolution satellites captured by Planet Labs and received by CNN show a first deployment of US troops and air force support personnel in mid-June, according to Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Project at The Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, which examined the new pictures.
Subsequent pictures, taken in late June and early July, seem to be preparing for the deployment of US troops, Lewis said.
] "At the end of a runway, a small warehouse of construction equipment appeared by June 27, suggesting improvements had already been made.The camp east of the runway is typical of Luftwaffe engineer squads stationed overseas." he told CNN.
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