The Pentagon and U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued surprising denials today after reports in the Egyptian press said that a U.S. task force in the Red Sea was about to “invade Egypt.”
Earlier this week, two U.S. ships led by USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship, and the USS San Antonio, a transport platform, carrying the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit moved into the northern Red Sea. Last month, along with the USS Carter Hall, which has since left the Red Sea, the 2,200-strong force had been part of Operation Eager Lion, training with Jordanian Forces.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little took to Twitter today to deny reports that the Navy’s presence meant an imminent U.S. invasion.
Some Egyptian press reports suggest US Navy ships are near Arabian Peninsula/Suez Canal to invade Egypt. Those reports are absolutely wrong.
— George Little (@PentagonPresSec) July 13, 2013
At the same time, 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 Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group has been in the region since May, patrolling the Red Sea, 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.
On Thursday, the top Marine Corps general announced the movement saying, “Egypt is (in) a crisis right now.”
Speaking to the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington D.C., Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos said, “When that happens, what we owe the senior leadership of our nation are some options,” Amos said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen.”
ABC’s Luis Martinez contributed to this report.