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US, French & British navies on mine drill off Bahrain ‘in support of free movement of trade’

The US, French and British navies have launched anti-mine exercises off Bahrain in support of the free movement of trade in Gulf waters, AFP reported, citing a military spokesperson. “As mines threaten maritime traffic indiscriminately, the US, France and UK are dedicated to conducting tactical training to counter the risk of mines in order to support the continued free flow of commerce and freedom of navigation in this critical region,” according to the US Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain. The exercise is “purely defensive,” Lt. Chloe Morgan, a spokesperson for the US Navy, told AFP on Monday. Bahrain, allied with Gulf powerhouse Saudi Arabia, is located in the waters between the kingdom and its arch-nemesis Iran. The archipelago is also home to a permanent British military base.