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September 16, 2019

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US conducts navy exercises in Arabian Sea

US Navy exercise 051919

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber Smalley / U.S. Navy via AP

In this Friday, May 17, 2019, photo, released by the U.S. Navy, sailors work around an MV-22 Osprey as it lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea. Commercial airliners flying over the Persian Gulf risk being targeted by “miscalculation or misidentification” from the Iranian military amid heightened tensions between the Islamic Republic and the U.S., American diplomats warned Saturday, May 18, 2019, even as both Washington and Tehran say they don’t seek war.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Latest on developments in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere in the Mideast amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local):

6:50 p.m.

The U.S. Navy says it has conducted exercises in the Arabian Sea with an aircraft carrier strike group ordered to the Persian Gulf to counter an alleged, unspecified threat from Iran.

The Navy said Sunday the exercises and training were conducted with the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group in coordination with the U.S. Marine Corps, highlighting U.S. "lethality and agility to respond to threat," as well as to deter conflict and preserve U.S. strategic interests.

Also taking part in exercises were the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, both deployed to the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of operations in the Persian Gulf.

The Navy says the exercises, conducted Friday and Saturday, included air-to-air training and steaming in formation and maneuvering.

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11:10 a.m.

A top Saudi diplomat says the kingdom does not want war but will defend itself, amid a recent spike in tensions with archrival Iran.

Adel al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, spoke early Sunday, a week after four oil tankers were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.

Saudi Arabia has blamed the pipeline attack on Iran. Gulf officials say an investigation into the tanker incident is underway.

A-Jubeir told reporters: "We want peace and stability in the region, but we won't stand with our hands bound."

Ministers from major oil-producing countries were to meet in Saudi Arabia later Tuesday.