The United States will send additional F-35 and F-16 fighter jets and another warship to the Middle East, the Pentagon said tonight, in an effort to monitor major waterways in the region after the seizure and harassment of merchant ships by the Iran in recent months.

In May, the White House announced that the administration of President Joe Biden would take a series of actions in this area, but did not specify what they would include.

“The Pentagon is increasing our presence and capabilities in the (Strait of Hormuz) area and surrounding waters,” Defense Department spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said at a press briefing. It is currently unclear where exactly the fighters will be stationed and for how long they will remain in the area.

Earlier this month the US Navy said it had intervened to prevent Iran from seizing two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman

There have been attacks on ships in the Gulf since 2019, at times of tension between the US and Iran. About one-fifth of the world’s production of crude and petroleum products passes through the Strait of Hormuz.