Royal Marines 'on training exercise' in Gulf

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has insisted the Royal Marines are being deployed in the Gulf region on a training exercise that had already been planned before the current tensions with Iran.

It was reported in the Sunday Times that 100 marines would be sent to protect British ships following an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

However, an MoD spokesperson responded by saying this is incorrect and that 20 to 30 Royal Marines will in fact be involved in routine drills in the area as previously scheduled.

The most recent attack on oil tankers in the Gulf has seen Iran take the blame once again, but the Iranian government has complained to the British ambassador in Tehran after foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt also said the nation was "almost certainly" responsible.

Speaking on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Hunt also claimed there is a "great risk" of a drift to war with Iran and urged all sides to "de-escalate" for fear of armed conflict.

Whitehall's Cobra security committee is expected to meet this week to discuss the situation.

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