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December 28, 2002

Pentagon orders navy to have carriers, assault vessels ready to sail for Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon has ordered the U.S. navy to prepare two aircraft carriers and two amphibious assault vessels for possible action in Iraq, defence officials said Friday.

The orders, sent in the last two days, require the navy to have the vessels ready to sail to the seas around Iraq within 96 hours after a certain date, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. They declined to specify that date.

The ships and their escorts of cruisers, destroyers and submarines, would bring a powerful military force to the region, adding several warships, scores of strike aircraft and roughly 2,500 marines to the forces in the region.