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Pentagon: 20 nations plan exercise in Mideast

Pentagon: 20 nations will take part in minesweeping drill in Mideast By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) The Pentagon says militaries from more than 20 nations will take part in an anti-mining exercise in Mideast waterways.

Defense Department press Secretary George Little says the exercise Sept. 16-27 is a defensive drill aimed at protecting freedom of navigation in the region.

Little said it was not designed to send a message to Iran. But Iran has threatened to mine the Strait of Hormuz. And the scenario for the exercise is how to deal with a hypothetical threat from an extremist organization to mine the strategic waterways of the Middle East, including the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.

Word of the exercise follows Monday's announcement that a second aircraft carrier will be sent several months early to the region.

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