US Approves Plan To Send 'About 1,500' Troops To Middle East

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US Approves Plan To Send 'About 1,500' Troops To Middle East
Earlier reports suggested much higher troop numbers, ranging from 5,000 to 10,000.
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The U.S. has approved a plan to deploy more troops to the Middle East.

News outlets initially reported Pentagon officials presented plans to the White House on Thursday to send between 5,000 and 10,000 troops to the Middle East. Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan told reporters Thursday those numbers are inaccurate.

President Trump told reporters Friday morning "about 1,500 people" would be deployed. 

Officials said the move is aimed at boosting defenses in the region, particularly around Iran, but not because of any new threats from the country. President Trump said Friday, "I don't think Iran wants to fight. And I certainly don't think Iran wants to fight with us."

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran started ramping up several weeks ago. The U.S. has accused Iran of mobilizing proxy groups to target American forces in Iraq and Syria, among other things

President Trump had previously refuted reports that the U.S. planned to send troops to the Middle East in response to potential threats from Iran. But he reversed course on Thursday, saying he'll send troops if necessary.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.