(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon was forced to issue an astounding denial after reports in the Egyptian media said that a U.S. task force in the Red Sea was about to "invade Egypt".
Earlier this week three U.S. ships led by the USS San Antonio - a transport platform - carrying the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit moved into the northern Red Sea. The 2,200-strong force with its own aircraft and logistics had been part of Operation Lion, training with Jordanian Forces last month. The USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship, and the USS Carter Hall, a landing ship, are also a part of the group.
On Saturday afternoon, Pentagon press secretary George Little took to Twitter to say "Some Egyptian press reports suggest US Navy ships are near Arabian Peninsula/Suez Canal to invade Egypt. Those reports are absolutely wrong."
At the same time, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo posted a similar statement, reading: “We deny false claims in Egyptian press that U.S. naval ships are in the vicinity of the Arabian Peninsula and the Suez Canal to militarily invade Egypt. The United States has forces regularly deployed in the vicinity of the Arabian Peninsula, and U.S. vessels regularly pass through the Suez Canal en route to the Indian Ocean or the Mediterranean Sea.”
The three-ship amphibious readiness group has been in the region since May, patrolling the Red Sea, the Horn of Africa, the Gulf and the Arabian Sea.
Egypt has been in turmoil since the Egyptian military removed President Mohamed Morsi from office earlier this month. Some of Morsi’s backers have accused the U.S. of secretly backing the military push.
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